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Full text of "Medical Jurisprudence And Toxicology"

398                                              MEDICAL JURISPRUDENCE

7. In a case39 where one Manickam who killed a woman by cutting her throat,
pleaded insanity as a defence, it was held in an appeal before the Madras High Court
that section 84, LP.C., cannot be invoked in the favour of a person who is unbalanced,
unhinged and excited in mind and possibly in some kind of obsession of hallucination,
as he cannot be said to be not knowing the nature of the act or that he was doing a
wrong act while cutting the neck of a woman, but, though not insane, the accused
proved to be unbalanced and excited and was held to be not in normal mind and the
death sentence was reduced to that of transportation for life.

Loss of Control.—A person accused of crime in India is not entitled to
exemption from criminal responsibility on the mere ground of loss of the
power of self-control at the time of perpetrating the offence, unless it is
attributable to insanity satisfying the usual legal tests, viz. inability to
distinguish right from wrong or to know the nature and consequences of the
act. This view was taken into consideration by the learned Judges when
they convicted Lakshman,40 who, being vexed with the cries of his two
small children, had killed them. A similar view was also taken in the case
of Venkata Sami41 who had murdered his brother's child wife. The appli-
cation of these legal tests in all such cases is not very sound; inasmuch as
there is a form of insanity, known as impulsive insanity, which affects the
will and emotions and not the cognitive faculties. The patient is able to
realize the difference between right and wrong and the nature and conse-
quences of the act, and yet he commits the crime being impelled by an
irresistible or uncontrollable impulse induced by a diseased mind. Such a
condition should be recognized in courts as a sufficient ground for exemption
from criminal liability. " Criminal responsibility should, however, not be
extended to one who with no mental disorder acts from overmastering anger,
jealousy or revenge. There must be insanity first."42

The plea of an irresistible impulse was brought forward in a murder trial at
Manchester, but was overruled as there was evidence of premeditation that the prisoner
bought the knife with which he committed the murder and sharpened it on both edges.43
In a case where one Shersing attempted to kill his wife and his mother-in-law, and did
kill his brother-in-law* aged ten years, and subsequently set fire to the hut belonging
to his mother-in-law, it was ruled that at the time of the commission of the offences the
accused was in a highly excited and unbalanced condition, he was, nevertheless, conscious
that what he was doing was wrong and a crime. His appeal was, therefore, not allowed.44
In another case where one Tolaram had murdered his father on the llth November 1926,
it had been proved that the accused was melancholic and had been subject to fits of
epilepsy and was, at the time of murder, suffering from vertigo. It was held that the
fact that the physical and mental ailments from which a man suffered had rendered his
intellect weak and had affected his emotions and will was not sufficient to bring his case
within section 84, IP.C. The question is whether his cognitive faculties had been im-
paired to the degree described in the last para of section 84. On the occasion in question
the loss of the power of self-control was not due to the want of consciousness of the
nature and quality of his act, brought about by a diseased state of mind, but was obvi-
ously the result of the sudden rousing of passions which he was unable to subdue at
the time. It was clear that he struck the deceased not in a paroxysm of insanity but
in a fit of anger-.45

One Matin Ali,46 son of a retired extra-assistant commissioner, with a frieno! of
his engaged a taxi in August 1932, from Nagpur for Chindwara, and while returning
shot the owner and the cleaner of the car at night near Silvani Ghat. He was absconding
and was arrested on the fourth day of the occurrence. He was sentenced to transpor-
tation for life by the Sessions Judge of Chindwara for this double murder. On an appeal
preferred by hint, the Judicial Commissioner in the course of his judgment observed

39.   51 Crim. Law J., 1950, p. 1329; see also 51 Crim. Law J., 1950, p. 1491; In re
Kulandai Thewwr—accused, Madras High Court.

40.   Lakshman Dogdu, (1886) 10 Bombay, 512.

41.   Venkatasami,  (1889) 12 Madras, 459.

42.   Shamsul Huday Principles of Law of Crimes, p. 294.

43.   Jour. Amer. Med. Assoc., April 16, 1921, p. 1116.

44-   Lahore High Court Cr. Appeal Ho. 1046 of 1922; 25 Criminal Law Jour., May J924;
p. 95.

45.   Lahore High Court Cr. Appeal No. 228 of 1927; 28 Criminal Law? Jour., July 1927,
p. 598.

46.   Leader, Sept 25, 1933,