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In Re: Padala Suryanarayana - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtAndhra Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Appeal No. 512 of 1962
Judge
Reported in1965CriLJ138
ActsPenal Code (IPC), 1860 - Sections 84 and 300
AppellantIn Re: Padala Suryanarayana
Appellant AdvocateP. Ravindra Reddy, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateC. Padmanabha Reddy, Adv. for ;Public Prosecutor
Excerpt:
.....the occurrence like a mad man, that somebody was coming to kill him and beat him, that people were trying to hang him and were digging trenches to bury him. 1 had seen the accused crying like a mad man abusing the passers-by. 2 and others were applying some medicine like lemon juice on the head of the accused. 1) as well as of the circumstances of the accused being alone inside the house with the deceased and a small child after p. ' in fact, no witness has mentioned that deceased was of bad character or that accused suspected that deceased was of bad character. ) (23) the evidence clearly shows that accused having fits of madness which lasted only a few days at time and were followed by period of sanity i. , we order that the accused be detained in safe custody by the..........p. c. (14) it was contended in the lower court that the accused was suffering from insanity at the time of occurrence and that he was entitled to the benefit of section 84, i. p. c. that section runs as follows : '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.' the same plea has been urged before us by the learned advocate for the accused, sri ravindra reddy. in support of contention, he has referred to various features in the evidence. (15) for sake of convenience, we hereafter refer to the condition of mind described in s. 84, i. p. c. as 'madness' or 'being mad'. (16) in state of madhya pradesh v. ahmadulla, :.....
Judgment:

Ananthanayayana Ayyar, J.

(1) In Sessions Case No. 23 of 1962, the learned Additional Sessions Judge, Srikakulam framed a single charge against the sole accused, Padala Suryanarayana, viz., that in the night of 30-4-1962 at Tumarada, accused murdered his wife, Uttara. The accused pleaded 'Not Guilty' to the charge. After trial, the learned Additional Sessions Judge, Srikakulam, convicted the accused of the offence with which he was charged and sentenced him to imprisonment for life. The accused filed this appeal against the conviction and sentence.

(2) The prosecution case, supported by 17 witnesses, is to the following effect. P. W. 17 a ryot of Tampatapalli, who had two wives and a concubine (P. W. 3). Through P. W. 3, he had three daughters. One of them named Uttara (deceased) was given as 2nd wife to the accused who was a driver employed in a rice mill in Tumarada village belonging to the local Village Munsif (P. W. 7). Accused had, at Tumarada, a house which belonged to his first wife. Another daughter of P. W. 2 was Saraswati, who was given in marriage to P.W. 1. The accused had three children by the deceased. He lived with the deceased and the children in a house at Tampatapalli along with P. W. 1 and P. W. 3. In the later part of April 1962, he ran away to Tekkali and P. W. 2 and P. W. 7 went in search of the accused. But ultimately accused himself returned and explained to P. W. 2, when questioned by the latter, that he had gone away because his mind was not alright. A few days later, the accused went away with the deceased and his children to his house in Tumarada and took up residence there.

(3) P. W. 2 went to Tumarada and visited the accused and the deceased at about 5-00 P. M. on the day of the occurrence viz., 30-4-1962. P. W. 2 asked the accused why the latter moved away from P. W. 3's house in his absence and the accused told him that his health was not alright and that he was developing some fear in remain for the night, but the accused asked him to go away and send P. W. 1. Accordingly P. W. 2 sent P. W. 1 and the latter arrived at the house of the accused at about 8-00 p. m. By that time, the accused and his family had finished their night meal. P. W. 1 ate food served to him by the deceased and later the whole lot lay down to sleep in the front verandah. In the same verandah, P. Ws. 4 and 5 (neighbours) were also sleeping. It was a dark night.

(4) At about midnight, a gale set in and the accused went with his wife and children inside the house where a small tin of keresone lamp was burning. They lay down to sleep in one of the two rooms of the house. After about 15 minutes, the accused came out and called P. W. 1 to sleep inside the house. Accordingly P. W. 1 went in. The accused then bolted the door of the house from inside. P. W. 1 slept near the accused. On the other side of the accuse, his son and daughter were sleeping while the youngest child was sleeping by the side of the deceased.

(5) P. W. 1 was aroused from sleep by poke on his chest. He woke up with a start and was shocked to see the accused hacking the deceased on the head with a huller-knife. P. W. 1 unbolted the door, came out and shouted that the deceased was being killed. Behind P. W. 1 the two elder children of the accused also came out. P. W. 1 raised an alarm. P. Ws. 4 and 5 became afraid and ran away. The accused then bolted the door from inside.

(6) On hearing the cries of P. W. 1, P. Ws. 6, 7 and 11 came there. They went to the door and called out to the accused would not open the door. He said that he would commit three murders viz., of his wife his youngest child and also of himself. P. W. 7, the Village Munsif then kept two vetties (Village servants) to keep a watch over the house of the accused. P. W. 1 recorded the statement (Ex. P. 1) from P. W. 1 and prepared reports in printed forms at about 2-30 A. M. The reports are Exs. P.2 and P. 3 He despatched them to the Police and the Magistrate.

(7) Accused set fire to his house. he threw his child out of the house through a gap between the wall and roof. But P. W. 13, a next door neighbour, caught the child in her arms and saved it. At about 8 a. m. P. W. 7 and others saw some smoke coming out of the house of the accused. Then they saw the accused running out of the house. P. Ws. 9, 10 and others chased him and ultimately caught him at a distance of 50 yards from the village when he was trying to step in a jeep which was proceeding towards Palakonda. The accused was then wearing blood-strained clothes (M. Os. 2 and 3), and was in possession of a huller-knife (M. O. 1). P. W. 7 detained the accused, took him near his house and kept him there under guard of the village vetti.

(P. W. 9)

(8) The sub-Inspector of Police, Palakonda received the report (Ex. P. 2) of the Village Munsif and registered Crime No. 49/62 under Section 302, I. P. C. Ex. P. 20 is the F. I. R. After sending the express reports, P. W. 16 the Sub-Inspector of Police, Palakonda, reached Tumarada village at 8-30 a. m. He received another report (Ex. P.4) from the Village Munsif which mentioned about the accused having set fire to the house. He seized M. O. 1 from P. W. 7 under Mahazar (Ex. P. 12) written by the Village Karnam (P. W. 11). He also seized the blood-strained lungi and half-arm shirt. (M. Os. 2 and 3), which accused was wearing, under the mahazar (Ex. P. 6). He then went to the scene of occurrence. Ex. P. 21 is a sketch of the scene of occurrence prepared by him. He saw the corpse of the deceased lying inside the house of the accused and seized various articles (M. Os. 7 to 14) under mahazar (Ex. P. 7). He also seized a tin of Kerosene lamp (M. O. 4) under Mahazar (Ex. P. 8). He held an inquest and prepared the report (Ex. P. 9). He sent the corpse to the Doctor (P. W. 8).

(9) P. W. 8 held post-mortem and found seven clean-cut injuries which were described in the postmortem certificate (Ex. P. 10). P. W. 8 found the skull to be fractured in various places. All the injuries were on the head and each one of them was sufficient to cause death. The absence of injuries on other parts of body like the limbs or the heads suggested that the accused did not attempt to protect and that, therefore, the deceased might have been asleep at the time of receiving injuries and she might have died at the first blow itself. The injuries might have been caused by M. O. 1.

(10) The Circle Inspector of Police (P. W. 17) received the F. I. R. on 1-5-1962 at 3-00 P. M. at Srikakulam and reached Tumarada at 6-00 p. m. He also visited the scene of offence. he deposed that his investigation disclosed that the accused suspected the fidelity of the deceased, particularly in relation to P. W. 1 but there was no evidence of any other witness in this regard in the trial Court. P. W. 17 sent a requisition to the Judicial Second Class Magistrate, Palakonda to get the accused examined by the District Medical Officer (P. W. 12). The District Medical Officer received the requisition from the learned Judicial Second Class Magistrate, Palakonda, and examined the accused on 29-5-1962. He issued the certificate (Ex. P. 13) to the following effect :-

'Moderately nourished. Appears normal. Behaving normally, speaking coherently, no signs of violence. Gait is steady. No hallucinations, no delusions, dressed properly. Conscious of his surroundings. In my opinion, he is mentally steady and sane. As such there in no need to keep the patient under observation.'

After the investigation, the Police filed the chargesheet. Ex. P. 18 is the report of the Chemical Examiner and Ex. P. 19 is the report of the Serologist. They show that the various articles seized from the scene of offence and from person of the accused contained human blood.

(11) In the Committing Court, the accused gave the statement (Ex. P. 20) to the effect that he did not commit the offence. In the Sessions Court, when questioned about his having been addicted to drink arrack and taking opium, he stated that he was taking drinks once in three or four months. When questioned about the occurrence, he stated as follows :

'I do not know this. When I woke up in the midnight to pass urine. I found my wife and A. Venkataswamy Naidu (P. W. 1) in the room. I was afraid that both of them would kill me. After that, I do not know what happened and what I did. At that time my crackness might have increased. 'Naku kraku ekkuva ayi undavachunu' (in Telugu)'

He said that he did not know what happened further.

(12) The accused examined two defence witnesses. D. W. 1 is a resident of the accused's village, Tumarada. He spoke to have gone to the scene of offence in the night, along with other villagers and corroborated the prosecution evidence. He said that the house after the occurrence like a mad man, that somebody was coming to kill him and beat him, that people were trying to hang him and were digging trenches to bury him. He also deposed as follows: One year prior to the occurrence, the accused had an attack of madness and that even subsequently he had some fist of madness and that the fits used to remain for periods ranging from 1 to 6 days at a time. A week prior to the occurrence, the accused has another attack of madness and in particular on the morning of the day of occurrence also. D. W. 1 had seen the accused crying like a mad man abusing the passers-by. D. W. 2 is a resident of Tampatapalli, the village of P. Ws. 2 and 3. He said that, even during the period when accused was living with his family in the house of P. W. 1 for about a year, the accused had an attack of madness and used to raise cries that somebody was trying to kill him and digging trenches to bury him, and that P. W. 2 and others were applying some medicine like lemon juice on the head of the accused. He said that subsequently also the accused had an attack of madness some 8 days prior to the occurrence.

(13) The learned Sessions Judge held, after discussing the evidence on record, that the deceased died as a result of injuries caused to her by the accused. This fining of the learned Sessions Judge is amply supported by the evidence which is disinterested and convincing. There is evidence of the eye-witness (P. W. 1) as well as of the circumstances of the accused being alone inside the house with the deceased and a small child after P. W. 1 and elder children came out of the house, the accused coming out of the house later with blood-strained huller-knife (M. O. 1) in his hand and with blood-strained clothes. The facts that the accused caused injuries to the deceased and that those injuries were fatal have been proved beyond doubt and have not been disputed before us. Beyond doubt, if the accused had been in a normal condition being able to understand what he was doing and with full powers or reasoning and understanding as a normal human being, he would certainly be guilty under Section 302, I. P. C.

(14) It was contended in the lower Court that the accused was suffering from insanity at the time of occurrence and that he was entitled to the benefit of Section 84, I. P. C. That Section runs as follows :

'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.'

The same plea has been urged before us by the learned Advocate for the accused, Sri Ravindra Reddy. In support of contention, he has referred to various features in the evidence.

(15) For sake of convenience, we hereafter refer to the condition of mind described in S. 84, I. P. C. as 'madness' or 'being mad'.

(16) In State of Madhya Pradesh v. Ahmadulla, : [1961]3SCR583 , it was observed by their Lordships of the Supreme Court as follows :- (at p. 999) :

'It is not in dispute that the burden of proof that the mental condition of the accused was, at the crucial point of time, such as is described by this section lies on the accused who claims the benefit of this exemption (vide S. 105, Indian Evidence Act, Illustration (a) )'

Their Lordships quoted with approval passages from the decision of the Court of Criminal Appeal in England in In re, Henry Perry, (1920) 14 Cri. Application. Rep. 48, wherein when a defence was put up that the accused was shown to have fits of epileptic insanity, Reading, C. J., held that the defence had to establish that the accused was suffering from epileptic seizure at the time when he committed the murder. Their Lordships of the Supreme Court held that, in the particular case before them, the crime was not committed in a sudden mood of insanity because of the following reasons:

(a) Accused bore ill-will towards the deceased.

(b) The act was committed at dead of night when accused would not be seen committing the act.

(c) The accused had carefully planned the act taking a torch with him and obtaining access to the house by stealthily scaling over a wall.

(d) After the act of killing, accused was found to be in a mood exaltation.

In the present case, the learned Sessions Judge has held that there was evidence of motive that accused suspected the fidelity of his wife. The learned Sessions Judge observed as follows :

'Both the investigating officers P. W. 16 and 17 stated that there was some vague talk about the character of the deceased but nobody came forward to speak the same before them.'

In fact, no witness has mentioned that deceased was of bad character or that accused suspected that deceased was of bad character. We find that there is no proof of motive. The act of killing by the accused was done at mid-night. But the evidence in this case shows that accused did not choose that particular time with a view to see that the act was not known to others. In fact, he did it a time when P. W. 1 was sleeping inside the house having come in the interests of the accused at the instance of his father-in-law namely, P. W. 2 who felt that the accused was mad & required somebody to watch and help the accused. The evidence shows that the accused did not plan the attack. After the attack, the accused did not show any consistent and unequivocal mood of exaltation. He was behaving as a mad man, singing sometimes, weeping sometimes, remaining silent sometimes as described by the vetti. (P. W. 9).

(17) In In Re Pappathi Ammal, : AIR1959Mad239 , law regarding Section 84, I. P. C. was traced from the time of McNaughton's case and the American law on the subject was also considered. The learned Judges observed as follows :- (at p. 243) :

'It has since been held laid down that the burden of proof which rests on the accused is not as heavy as that which rests on the prosecution, but may be stated as not being higher than that which rests on a party in civil proceedings. It may therefore be discharged by evidence satisfying the jury that on a balance of probabilities he was insane within the meaning of the McNaughton Rules.'

The learned Judges also observed as follows : (at page 244) :

'................. Accused's condition, antecedent and subsequent to the commission of the crime, is relevant only in so far as it might assist the Court in coming to a conclusion as to his mental capacity at the time when he did the act .....................'

(18) In Dewa Ram v. Emperor, AIR 1937 Lah 486, it was observed as follows :-(at p. 488) :

'It would be obviously very difficulty ordinarily to prove the precise state of an offender's mind at the time of the commission of an offence, but some indication thereof is often furnished by the words or the conduct of the offender while committing it, or immediately before or after the commission of the offence.'

The question as to whether accused was mad at the time of occurrence so as to attract the application of Section 84, I. P. C. is a question of fact to be decided on merits in each case on the facts of that case. Such decision has to be made with reference to the law on the subject as indicated in the above decisions. Madness can be of different types and forms and acts of mad man do not necessarily follow a set pattern and conform to a normal standard. The act of one man may be different from act of another man even under similar circumstances. If a man was mad at the time of occurrence, though he was sane at the time of trial, he may not be able to put forward at the trial, pleas describing how he really felt and the state of his mind in the same way as an accused who was not mad at the time of occurrence. Allowance has to be made for this in considering his pleas with reference to the evidence.

(19-22) In this case, various witnesses have stated that the accused had several fits of madness from about two years prior to the date of occurrence. (After examining the evidence. His Lordship continued:)

(23) The evidence clearly shows that accused having fits of madness which lasted only a few days at time and were followed by period of sanity i.e., lucid intervals. Therefore, the fact that accused was in sound state of mind when D. M. O. (P. W. 12) examined him about a month after the occurrence and when trial was held or some months after occurrence does not mean that accused must have been of sound mind at the time of occurrence.

(24) The crucial question is whether, at the time the accused attacked and caused death of the deceased, his mental condition was such as referred to in Section 84, I. P. C. viz., whether he had at the time unsoundness of mind by reason of which he was incapable of knowing the nature of the act which he was doing or that he was either wrong or contrary to law.

(25) The learned Sessions Judge has mentioned in paragraph 9 of his judgment, the various features which were relied upon by the prosecution as showing that the accused was not entitled to the benefit of the exception. The main grounds on which the learned Sessions Judge came to his conclusion are as follows:-

(1) Conduct of the accused prior to the offence on various occasions indicted only an eccentric conduct and not unsoundness of mind.

(2) The accused killing his wife by hitting only on the left side of the head in repeated succession without causing any injury to any of the sleeping children by her side or to P. W. 1 shows that he was capable of discrimination.

(3) When the V. M. (P. W. 7) and others asked the accused to open the door, accused cried from inside to P. W. 7 to send a crime report and accused said that he would cause three deaths if force was used to open the door. This would indicate that accused was in full senses and successfully prevented the V. M. and others from apprehending him.

(4) Accused was having long intervals of normal behaviour and was attending to his mill work whenever required and he was not removed from the mill work.

(5) After the occurrence, the C. I. and S. J. found the accused to be normal.

(6) Later, the D. M. O. found the accused to be normal.

(7) The accused had motive for his attack on the deceased.

(26) We have already pointed out above that there is no evidence to prove motive. Items 5 and 6 are not of much importance because the evidence shows that the accused was prone to have fits of abnormal mental condition and behaviour, separated by fits of normal behaviour. In item No. 4 itself, the learned Sessions Judge has referred to this fact. Long intervals of normal behaviour do not necessarily show that the person concerned is not of unsound mind or insane at other periods which are separated by these long intervals. For, lucid intervals are known to occur in cases of person who are afflicted with fixed insanity. Item No. 2 does not have any significance in view of the fact that the evidence does not show that accused had any particular reason or motive to attack the deceased while having no such reason or motive against the children and P. W. 1.

As regards item No. 3, P. W. 7 supports this version that P. W. 1 says that what the accused said was that 'he will commit three murders of his wife, his youngest child and also of himself'. This would indicate that the accused did not know that the deceased was already dead. If the accused were sane and was capable of understanding the effect of what he did, he must have known that the deceased must have already died. For accused had dealt heavy blows on the head of the sleeping deceased with a deadly huller knife, each blow being sufficient to cause death. Item No. 1 is not decisive. For, the question to be decided is whether the conduct of the accused showed unsoundness of mind or only eccentricity. His relatives (P. Ws. 1 and 2), his employer (P. W. 7), neighbour (P. W. 6) all considered his prior acts to be those of a man who was mad. There is no room to hold that all these witnesses were trying to oblige the accused by giving false evidence.

(27) Thus, the entire evidence indicates as follows. The accused was subject to fits of madness. He had regular attacks lasting from one to six days at a time from about a year prior to the occurrence. Even the enquires of the Sub-Inspector of Police (P. W. 6) indicated to him that people who knew the accused thought that he was a mad man and that he was apprehending danger to his life. This fear, when it set in, was of a vague nature which disturbed his mind deeply and kept him in a high state of nervous tension, though the fear was not fear of concrete danger at the hands of any particular person. An attack of madness seems to have set in even prior to the date of occurrence. The Village Munsif (P. W. 7) who is an employer of the accused, stated that on 28-4-62, the accused came to the mill and began to abuse each and everybody who happened to beat the mill. But then P. W. 7 did not think that the attack of madness was serious and, therefore, he did not sent word to the father-in-law of the accused (P. W. 2). The deceased was living with her children in the company of the accused at his house.

In the evening of the day of occurrence, the condition of the accused's mind seems to have been unsound. He asked P. W. 2 to sent P. W. 1 to be present with him as he had feeling of fright within his mind. P. W. 2 accordingly sent P. W. 1 and the latter arrived after night-meal time. Meanwhile, the neighbour (P. W. 13) had heard accused's cries in his house from late in the evening. At mid-night when the accused called P. W. 1 into the house, this feeling of fright seems to have been oppressing the mind of the accused. All these indicate that accused had a fit of madness i.e., unsoundness of mind. The condition seems to have suddenly worsened and taken a violent turn resulting in the act of the accused attacking his wife (who was sleeping peacefully and innocently with her children by his side) in a violent manner with no motive and for no apparent reasons whatsoever. P. W. 1 though that the accused would attack him also though a short time back the accused had sought his protection and help for courage and confidence against his unhappy mental condition of vague fright.

P. W. 9, the vetti who was keeping a watch outside the door during the night of occurrence, heard the accused crying 'somebody would come and kill him' and heard the accused at times weeping, at time abusing others, at times singing and at times was silent. Further, throwing away his child and setting fire to his house also suggests that the accused was of unsound mind at that time. His conduct in the morning when he ran out of his house with the huller-knife in his hand shouting and crying that people are coming to kill him also shows that the accused was acting as a mad man and was of unsound mind. Subsequently, by the time of the Sub Inspector of Police came to the accused, his condition became normal. Thus accused's conduct showed that he had a fit of madness which set in before the act, that it subsisted at the time of the act (attack on deceased) and continued till some time after the act.

(28) Considering all the facts and circumstances of the case, we find that the accused was really of unsound mind at the time of attacking the deceased and was by reason of unsoundness of mind, incapable of knowing that he was doing what was wrong or contrary to law, and it, therefore, entitled to the benefit of Section 84, I. P. C. We accordingly give him the benefit of that Section. Consequently we allow the appeal, set aside the conviction and sentence and acquit him of the charge. Under Section 471 Cr. P. C., we order that the accused be detained in safe custody by the Superintendent Central Jail, Rajamundry, who shall watch the condition of the accused. This matter will be reported to State Government.

(29) Appeal allowed.


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