Mental Illness: A Study of Medico-Legal Approach

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Dr. Pratima Devi


The fundamental rule of Criminal Jurisprudence is that to prove criminal liability of a person in the eyes of law, the most important element which is essential to prove the liability of accused is that, at that time when the act was committed, the accused had adequate mental aptitude to form criminal intention. Therefore, the children of “tender age”, means children below the of age 7 years are exempted from criminal liability as it is presumed under law that they are incapable to form the ‘mensrea’that is‘guilty intention’ and because of this reason only if the accused in insane there is protection given to him under criminal law and him his criminal liability is exempted under section 84 of Indian Penal Code, 1860. The immunity provided on the ground of the insanity is basically available on the conjecture that, at that time when the offence was committed, the defendant was unable of knowing the nature and quality of the action and he was not able to differentiate between right and wrong conduct, thus making him not lawfullyanswerable for offence. This article elaborates the term insanity and origin of Insanity as a defense and talk about thewell-knownMc’Naghten case which is known worldwidely as the precedent of insanity laws in the recenttimes.

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