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Full text of "Medical Jurisprudence And Toxicology"

396                                                MEDICAL JURISPRUDENCE

nature of tlie act.   If he kills a child under an insane delusion that by doing
so he is saving him from sin and sending him to heaven, he knows the nature
of the act that it will result in death, "but he is not capable of understanding
that what he is doing is morally wrong.   In a ^criminal case29 Martin, B.,
cited before the jury as an instance of a delusion the case of a man who
fancied himself to be a king dispensing justice to his subjects.    " If such a
man were to kill another under the supposition that he was exercising his
prerogative as a king, and that he was called upon to execute the other as
a criminal he would not be responsible."   Again, if a person kills another
man under the influence of a delusion that he is attempting to take his life,
he would be exempt from punishment, inasmuch as he, by reason of insanity
is incapable of knowing that his act is contrary to the law of his country.
He is justified in killing that man in self-defence if his delusion were true.30
Similarly, a person who kills another man under the belief arising from an
insane delusion, that the man had committed adultery with the prisoner's
wife would be entitled to have his offence reduced under exception 1 of
section 300, I.P.C., as having been committed under grave provocation.31
On the other hand, if a person kills another man under the influence of an
insane delusion that he had inflicted a serious injury to his character and
fortune, he is criminally responsible for his offence, seeing that no one is
entitled by law to kill a person in revenge for such injury, even if his delu-
sion were true.32

Illustrative Cases,1. One Karma tfrang, accused, had a dream in which the god- *
dess Kali appeared before him and told him that his father was a descendant of Kali
and that if he (the accused) did not kill his father, his father would kill him. The
accused honestly believed this and cut off his father's head the next day and was coolly
proceeding with it to the court with the object of producing the head before the court,
when he was arrested. The medical evidence showed that he was under a definite
delusion. It was ruled in an appeal in the Calcutta High Court that the accused must
under the circumstances be held to have been incapable at the time of the doing of the
act by reason of unsoundness of mind of knowing the nature of the act or that he was
doing what was either wrong or contrary to law within the meaning of section 84, I.P.C.,
and that he could not be convicted of murder.33

2.    In a case where one Mani Ram, after murdering four persons (his own relatives)
in rapid succession with a gaudosa dropped it and began to run away and subsequently
volunteered the information that he had murdered his elder nephew, one of the deceased,
Their Lordships held that the mere presence of the five circumstances, viz. absence of
any  motive,  accomplices,  secrecy,  etc.  did  not fulfil the  requirements  of  section  84,
IP.C.   A man might be suffering from insanity, in the sense in which the words would
be used by an alienist, but might not be suffering from unsoundness of mind as denned
in this section.   The law recognized nothing but incapacity to realize the nature of the
act, and presumed that where a man's mind or his faculties of ratiocination were suffi-
ciently clear to apprehend what he was doing, he must always be presumed to intend
the consequences of the action he took.   It was perfectly clear from the conduct of the
accused that he knew what he was doing and that what he was doing was wrong.   Their
Lordships had no option in the matter but to find that the accused had wholly failed
to establish the unsoundness of mind.    They, therefore, dismissed his appeal and con-
firmed the sentence of death.34

3.   In a murder appeal35 in which the appellant, Muhammad Hashim, aged 40 years,
had been sentenced to transportation for life by the Sessions Judge of Bulandshahr of
having killed Khalil, a boy of seven or eight years, by stabbing him in the stomach with
a butcher's knife, it was held by Their Lordships that the mere incident of the murder
itself seemed to them to indicate the act of a mad man.    The accused was not said to
have had the slightest enmity or grudge either against the little boy,  Khalil, or his
father or any relative of his.    There was no motive whatever for committing such a
crime, _and this in itself suggested that the accused must have been of unsound mind.
In addition to this there were statements of a number of witnesses and even some prose-

29.   R. v. Towriby, 3 F, and F. 839.

30.   McNaughten's Case, I.O. and K. 130.

31.   Mayne, Cr. Law of India, Part H, x>, 175.

32.   McNaughten's Case, Loa Cit.

33.   30 Crim. Law Jour., March 1929, p. 247.

34.   28 Crim. Law Jour., Jan. 1927, p. 121.

35.   Leader, Sept. 23, 1933.