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Unsoundness of mind and Juvenility must be established in the trial itself, belated claims undermines the genuineness of defence’s case: SC

Team SoOLEGAL 21 Aug 2020 5:11pm

Unsoundness of mind and Juvenility must be established in the trial itself, belated claims undermines the genuineness of defence’s case: SC

The Supreme Court has observed that in order to claim juvenility and the exception of unsoundness of mind under Section-84 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 the same has to be raised during the trial itself.

This observation came while the court dismissed an appeal filed by person who was charged under Section-394 of the IPC and Section-25 of the Arms Act, 1959.

The appellant has contended that at the time of occurrence of the alleged crime, he was 15 years of age and was under treatment for mental disorder in a government hospital. This was further confirmed by an OPD card and the testimony of his mother who stated that sometimes she had to chain his son in order to prevent him from inflicting harm. However, the statement recorded under Section-313 CrPC shows that the appellant was above 18 years at the time of the incident. The HC took note of the statement under Section-313 CrPC and dismissed the appeal concluding that the accused is a major.

When the case came before the SC, it dismissed the plea and upheld the HC’s decision by stating, “Pleas of unsoundness of mind under Section 84 of IPC or mitigating circumstances like juvenility of age, ordinarily ought to be raised during trial itself. Belated claims not only prevent proper production and appreciation of evidence, but they also undermine the genuineness of the defence's case.

The bench of the Apex court has further propounded that in order show unsoundness of mind and juvenility, a photocopy of OPD certificate and testimony of mother is not enough to be considered as substantial evidence. In order to claim the above grounds, the accused has to show “preponderance of probabilities” that he/she was suffering from a serious enough mental disorder/illness that he/she could not reasonably distinguish right or wrong. Further, due to that unsoundness of mind the crime was committed which would otherwise have not been. 



Tagged: Indian Penal Code   Supreme Court   Arms Act 1959   Section-394   juvenility   defence’s case  
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