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Kesheorao Bhiosanji Navale Vs. State of Maharashtra - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtMumbai High Court
Decided On
Judge
Reported in1979CriLJ403; 1979MhLJ157
AppellantKesheorao Bhiosanji Navale
RespondentState of Maharashtra
Excerpt:
.....84. the antecedent and subsequent conduct of such a person are relevant to show the state of his mind at the time the act was committed. provided by section 94. if he does not establish this, the plea of insanity must fail. 12. in the present matter, the accused has utterly failed to establish any such plea. the number of injuries would have been a compelling factor had the accused first succeeded in bringing himself within the exemption of section 84, which he has utterly failed to do. the accused has utterly failed to substantiate the plea of insanity taken up by him. we would not be far wrong in saying that at the age of 65, a man should know better than to assault any one, much less his own daughter-in-law, with a lethal weapon like spear-blade and cause as many as 16 injuries on..........they -saw the accused belabouring kausalya with spear-blade. pandurang and shriram disarmed the accused. kausalya's husband puran was sent for. kausalya was taken by puran to the asegaon police station, where her complaint was recorded. thereafter, she was immediately sent to the general hospital at amravati, where she remained as an inpatient for 13 days. the accused was brought to trial for having committed an offence punishable under section 307 of the indian penal code.3. the defence of the accused was of denial. thereafter he filed a written statement admitting the assault on kausalya but claimed exemption under section 84 of the indian penal code. according to the accused, at intervals he got spells of insanity. during such spells, he felt as if somebody was beating him, so he.....
Judgment:

Lentin, J.

1. The accused has filed this appeal against the conviction and sentence passed upon him by the learned Additional Sessions Judge, Amravati', convicting him under Section 307 of the Indian Penal Code and sentencing him to suffer R. I. for a period of 7 years and to pay a fine of Rs. 100/- in default to suffer further R. I. for one month.

2. The accused is the father-in-law of the victim Kausalya. Puran is the husband of Kausalya and the son of the accused. Manjula is the wife of the accused. About two months prior to the incident of assault, which took place on 5th November 1975 at about 10 a.m., Manjula had left the accused and had gone to reside with her daughter in another village. Since about 10 to 12 years prior to the incident, the accused and Puran were residing separately, though in the same house, in village Hiwra. The accused and his wife Manjula occupied a half portion of the house adjacent to the house of one Pandurang Ingale (P.W. 4), whereas the remaining half portion of the house was in the occupation of Puran and Kausalya, this portion being adjacent to the house of one Shriram Navale (P.W. 5). The family idols and deities were in the portion of the house in the occupation of Puran and Kausalya. On 5th November 1975 at. about 10 a.m., the accused came to the premises occupied by Puran and Kausalya and took darshan of the family idols and deities. The accused returned after some time with a spear-blade and with it assaulted Kausalya who was alone at that time with her small child aged about 6 months. The accused inflicted as many as 16 injuries on the person of Kausalya on different parts of her body. Hearing her screams for help, the immediate neighbours Pandurang and Shriram rushed to the spot. They -saw the accused belabouring Kausalya with spear-blade. Pandurang and Shriram disarmed the accused. Kausalya's husband Puran was sent for. Kausalya was taken by Puran to the Asegaon police station, where her complaint was recorded. Thereafter, she was immediately sent to the General Hospital at Amravati, where she remained as an inpatient for 13 days. The accused was brought to trial for having committed an offence punishable under Section 307 of the Indian Penal Code.

3. The defence of the accused was of denial. Thereafter he filed a written statement admitting the assault on Kausalya but claimed exemption under Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code. According to the accused, at intervals he got spells of insanity. During such spells, he felt as if somebody was beating him, so he would rush upon and belabour the nearest person. He had also beaten his wife Manjula during such spells. He would thereafter feel sorry. He assaulted his daughter-in-law Kausalya that day under such an attack of Insanity, without realising what he was doing and was incompetent to understand that the nature of the act he committed was against the law. When he assaulted Kausalya that day, he did not intend either to kill or injure her.

4. Before the learned trial Judge, the prosecution led the eye-witness evidence of the victim Kausalya and also the two neighbours Pandurang and Shriram. After considering their evidence as also the medical testimony and the defence of the accused, the learned Judge repelled the defence of the accused and found the accused guilty and convicted him under Section 307 of the I. P. C.

5. Mr. Gordey. the learned Counsel appearing on behalf of the appellant, contended that the accused was at the time of the incident in such a disturbed state of mind that he did not know the nature or consequence of his act. According to Mr. Gordey, the accused was carried away by some mental aberration.

6. Kausalya, the victim of the assault, has stated that while relations between herself personally and the accused were cordial, relations between the accused and his son Puran were strained because Puran did not heed the accused's requests to persuade Manjula to return to the accused who, by reason of her desertion, caused trouble to the accused for messing. The accused often threatened Puran that if he did not bring Manjula back to the accused, Puran would also suffer in the same way in which the accused was Buffering by way of messing difficulties. This has not even been remoted sought to be controverted by the defence in cross-examination. Kausalya emphatically denied the suggestion made to her that the accused was not of sound mind. On the contrary, he was a wife-beater and It was for that reason that Manjula had deserted him and had gone to live at her daughter's house.

7. There is nothing m the evidence of Kausalya which would indicate that the accused did not know the nature or consequences of his act. On the contrary, the evidence of Kausalya indicates some motive on the part of the accused for inflicting the injuries on Kausalya, viz. to spite himself on Puran so that Puran would be inconvenienced in the same way for messing as the accused was by reason of Manjula leaving him.

8. The evidence of Kausalya is corroborated by the evidence of the two eyewitnesses Pandurang and Shriram who, on hearing the cries of Kausalya for help, at once came on the scene and witnessed the accused mercilessly assaulting the prostrate Kausalya with the spear-blade. After the accused was disarmed, Shriram remonstrated with the accused for assaulting his own daughter-in-law. The accused thereupon wept. This, according to Mr. Gordey indicated unsoundness of mind on the part of the accused, inasmuch as until it was brought home to him by Shriram that he was beating Kausalya, he had not realised it. This contention is in the nature of speculation, not borne out by the record. He may well have felt ashamed that he was caught beating his daughter-in-law and that such a cowardly incident had been witnessed by the two neighbours Shriram and Pandurang Merely because the accused wept, would not indicate legal insanity on his part on the record before us. Mr. Gordey emphasised that the evidence of Kausalya disclosed that the accused was shouting while assaulting Kausalya and hence was insane. While beating his victim, a person may shout for many reasons. Frenzy, anger or even blood-thirstiness may be .some of them. But would it necessarily be out of insanity? We do not think so on the record in this case.

9. Mr. Gordey also laboured on the evidence of Pandurang that the accused used to behave queerly by abusing others and that if anybody went near the door of his house, he would abuse that person. According to Pandurang and Shriram, the accused was eccentric and would beat up whosoever was near him. Their evidence reveals that his wife had left him because of habitual abuse and beatings received at his hands and that he was mentally upset since the time his wife left him. Thus, Mr. Gordey invited us to come to the conclusion that the accused was insane. None of these factors would attract the provisions of Section 84 I. P. C. Insanity is different from eccentricity or strange behaviour. Eccentricity or strange behaviour or a mental upset not amounting to insanity as known to the law, would not absolve a person from the consequences of his act. There is nothing on record to indicate that even assuming the accused was queer or eccentric or accustomed to belabouring others or was mentally upset by reason of his wife leaving him two months earlier, he was, at the time of assaulting Kausalya, in such a state of mind as to be incapable of knowing the nature or consequences of his act or that what he was doing was wrong or contrary to law, so as to attract the exemption under Section 84 I. P. C.

10. To bring the case of the accused Under Section 84 I. P. C. it is for the accused to establish that by reason of unsoundness of mind, he was incapable of knowing the nature of his act or what he was doing was either wrong or contrary to law. Section 84 reads as under;

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.

Thus, it is by this section that the legal test Is laid down of responsibility In cases of alleged unsoundness of mind. It is by the test laid down by Section 84, as distinguished from the medical test, that the criminality of an act is to be determined. A person, who by reason of mental disease is prevented from controlling his own conduct, or a person who is deprived, by mental affliction, of the power of rationalising on the moral character of his act, would be entitled to the benefit of this section. A person disordered in his senses and thereby deprived of reason is no more than en automation moving and operating without consciousness of effect, or responsibility. He is less than a human being and more of an animal. Protection, however. Is withdrawn to a person if he knew that the act he did was wrong, even if he did not know that it was contrary to law. Protection is likewise withdrawn if he knew that what he was doing was contrary to law, even though he did not know that it was wrong. In order to establish a defence on the ground of insanity it must be established: that at the time of doing the act, the accused was labouring from disease of the mind under such defect of reason as not to know the nature and quality of the act he was doing or if he did know it, he did not know that what he was doing was wrong. If he knew it, he would be responsible. The mere fact that on earlier occasions, a person had been subject to insane delusions or had suffered from derangement of the mind or had subsequently at times behaved like a mentally deficient person, is per se insufficient to bring his case within the exemption provided by Section 84. The antecedent and subsequent conduct of such a person are relevant to show the state of his mind at the time the act was committed. The antecedent and subsequent conduct of the accused in this, case is revealing.

11. He came to Kausalya's premises when she was alone. He took darshan of the deities. He returned after some time with a spear-blade and with it assaulted Kausalya. His subsequent conduct reveals shame or at the highest remorse. Neither of these sentiments by themselves are indicative of lunacy. Where legal insanity is set up as a defence, it is important to consider the circumstances which had preceded and attended the offence. There is no doubt that the element of deliberation and preparation was certainly present in this case. It is not without its own significance that the accused chose a time when Kausalya was all by herself in the house, doing her cooking. The gods he came to propitiate, to attack Kausalya he returned with the spear-blade and in Injurying her he succeeded. The Court must concern itself with the state of mind of the accused at the time of his act. It is not every person suffering from mental disease who can avoid responsibility for an offence by invoking the plea of insanity. Legal insanity is not medical Insanity and must not be confused with medical insanity. It is only the legal and not the medical aspect of the question that the Court Is concerned with. Where a plea of insanity is raised, it is for the accused to establish it, so as to bring his case within the exemption; provided by Section 94. If he does not establish this, the plea of insanity must fail.

12. In the present matter, the accused has utterly failed to establish any such plea. An eccentric or a 'queer' person or one accustomed to assaulting others, is not necessarily a person of unsound mind. He may be a cranky person or just a plain bully.

13. It would, in our opinion, not be open to countenance a defence of insanity merely from the number of injuries inflicted by the accused upon his victim, as Mr. Gordey invited us to do. To contend, as did Mr, Gordey, that the number of injuries inflicted by the accused by itself indicated insanity, is futile. Insanity cannot be inferred merely from the number of injuries inflicted on the victim. The number of injuries would have been a compelling factor had the accused first succeeded in bringing himself within the exemption of Section 84, which he has utterly failed to do. Such a contention if countenanced, would be tantamount to giving a licence to a sane person to commit the most brutal crime and thereafter plead in extenuation its very brutality as a ground for exemption under Section 84, I. P. C.

14. In our opinion, the attack by the accused was wanton and deliberate. The prosecution has established beyond reasonable doubt that the accused committed the offence with the requisite menses. The accused has utterly failed to substantiate the plea of insanity taken up by him. While there is no reason, and none has been attributed, why Kausalya or the two eye-witnesses should falsely depose against the accused, it is of no little significance that it was only in his additional written statement that the plea of insanity was taken up by the accused and not in his earlier statement where his defence was of total denial.

15. Mr. Gordey contended that this was not a case which would fall within Section 307 I. P. C, as according to Dr. Bhaurao Londhe, injuries Nos. 2 and 16, viz., incised wound li' x J' x 3/4' on the back on right side 2' medial to posterior axillary fold right, and incised wound ll' x 1' x 3/4' on the left side of back li' medial to left posterior axillary fold, by themselves were not sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death and that except for these two injuries, the remaining injuries were not fatal as the lung was not affected. The fallacy of Mr. Gordey's contention lfe in that Dr. Londhe's evidence must be read not piecemeal but as a whole. Merely because injuries Nos. 2 and 16 by themselves were not sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death, would not take this case out of the mischief of Section 307 I. P. C. Dr. Londhe's evidence, read in its entirety, discloses that the cumulative effect of all these 16 injuries was sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death.

16. On the question of sentence, Mr. Gordey invited us to reduce it from 7 years' R. I, to a lesser period as the accused is aged 65 years. We would not be far wrong in saying that at the age of 65, a man should know better than to assault any one, much less his own daughter-in-law, with a lethal weapon like spear-blade and cause as many as 16 injuries on her person. The attack on Kausalya was a calculated and premeditated cowardly act on a defenceless woman who was alone at the time of the brutal assault. We see no reason to interfere with the sentence of 7 years' R. I. passed by the learned trial Judge, which; we uphold.

17. In the result, the appeal is dismissed.


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