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Insanity Defence Under the Indian Criminal justice System

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Insanity Defence Under the Indian Criminal justice System

Uttkarsh Mann, LLM Criminal Law, Amity University, Noida, U.P.

 

ABSTRACT

The "Insanity Defence" within the framework of the Indian Legal System serves as a protective measure for individuals accused of criminal offenses, especially when they lack the mental capacity to understand the nature of their actions or differentiate between right and wrong. This defence aligns with the legal principle “Actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea,” which emphasizes that for an action to be deemed unlawful, it must be accompanied by a guilty mind. Consequently, punishing individuals who are not accountable for their actions would contravene fundamental human rights enshrined in the Constitution of India. To delve deeper into the concept of the insanity defence, it's essential to trace its origins and development within English law and its subsequent impact on Indian legal statutes. It's crucial to understand that insanity defence isn't merely a matter of suffering from a mental illness; rather, it requires a demonstration that the accused lacked the mental capacity to comprehend the consequences of their actions. Thus, the burden of proof lies with the accused, who must provide compelling evidence to establish their state of insanity, akin to the standard of “preponderance of the evidence” often seen in civil cases. This paper seeks to analyze the intricacies of insanity within the legal framework and how it has evolved into a potential loophole within the current judicial system.


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