Defence of insanity Section 84 IPC by Pratigya Darpe

Defence of unsound mind / insanity

Defence of unsound mind is given in section 84 in IPC Indian penal code , 1860.

Section – 84 . Act of a person of unsound mind – Nothing is an offence which is done by a person who , at the time of doing it , by reason of unsoundness of mind , is incapable of knowing the nature of the act or that he is doing what is either wrong or contrary to law.

According to this section if a person while doing some act he is not sound by mind or not having any idea that what he is doing , what’s the circumstances of the act , what’s are the results of his act , then the unsoundness of mind of that person become a defence and the person is not punished for this act or offence.

Here , the Essential elements of crime is not completed , so according to the section and soundness of mind is not guilty.

To commit a criminal offence , mens rea is generally taken to be an essential element of crime.

In other words A person who is suffering from a mental disorder cannot be said to be had to have committed a crime crime as he does not know what he is doing for committing a crime the intention and at both are taken to be the constituent of the crime .
Every normal and sane human being is accepted to have some degree of reason to be responsible for his/her conduct and acts unless contrary is proved .But a person of unsound Mind or a person suffering from mental disorder cannot be said to possess this basic norm of human behaviour.
This section is also known as act of insanity .
A very famous case to explain the section 84 is

R vs Daniel McNaughten

This famous case give the mcnaughton rule.

In this case mcnaughton was charged with the murder by shooting of Edward Drummond , who was the Private Secretary of the prime minister of England sir Robert peel . The accused Mc naughten produced medical evidence to prove that , he was not , at the time of committing the act in a sound state of mind he claimed that he was suffering from an insane solutions that the Prime Minister was the only reason for all his problems . He had also claimed that as a result of this insane delusions , he wanted to shoot the Prime Minister but he mistook shoot his Edward Drummond ( Private Secretary ) to think that he was the Prime Minister.
His Appeal of insanity was accepted and McNaughten was found not guilty , on the grounds of insanity.
Essential elements of section 84 ( defence of Insanity ) are :-
1. At the time of act the accused must be of unsound mind.
2. The accused is incapable of knowing the nature of the act that what he is doing is wrong or contrary to law.
3. All the circumstances prove that he is not capable of understanding the nature of Act at that particular time.


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