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Ramdulare RamadhIn Sunar Vs. State - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtMadhya Pradesh High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCriminal Appeal No. 350 of 1957
Judge
Reported inAIR1959MP259; 1959CriLJ844
ActsIndian Penal Code (IPC), 1860 - Sections 84 and 300; Evidence Act, 1872 - Sections 105 and 114
AppellantRamdulare RamadhIn Sunar
RespondentState
Appellant AdvocateRajendra Singh, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateH.L. Khaskalam, Addl. Govt. Adv.
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Cases ReferredState v. Chhotelal Criminal Ref. No.
Excerpt:
.....ii). contrasting the distinction between crime pattern of a 'homicidal monomaniac' (the insame murderer) and the criminal (non-insane), murderer, issac ray in 'medical jurisprudence of insamity says the circumstances under which thehomicidal act is perpetrated furnish strong ground for believing that they depend on mental alienation in some form or other; ' the homicidal monomaniac, after gratifying his bloody desires, testifies neither to (sic) to repentance, nor to satisfaction, and if judicially condemned, perhaps acknowledges the justice of the sentence. 8. it is significant that there is no reliable evidence of any violent conduct on the part of the accused. 1) is that he behaved well and rationally, slept well and was physically and mentally healthy. on the other hand, his..........of the crime furnish some of the important clues to ascertain whether by reason of unsoundness of mind the accused was incapable of knowing the nature of the act, or that he was doing what was either wrong or contrary to law.in all cases where previous insanity is set up, it is most material to consider the circumstances which have preceded, attended and followed the crime: whether there was deliberation and preparation for the act; whether it was done in a manner which showed a desire to concealment; whether, after the crime, the offender showed consciousness of, guilt, and made efforts to avoid detection; whether, after his arrest, he offered false excuses and, made false statements. all facts of this sort are material, as bearing on the test which bramwell, b, submitted to a jury in.....
Judgment:

Naik, J.

1. The accused-appellant Ramdulare has been convicted by the fourth Additional Sessions Judge, Jabalpur, under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code for committing the murder of Chhedilal, alias Chiddi Nai on the morning of 4-1-1957 at his own house in Uprenganj, Jabalpur, and sentenced to imprisonment for 'life. His appeal is that on the facts established he ought to have been held of 'unsound mind within the meaning of Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code and consequently exempted from criminal responsibility for the aforesaid murder. (sic) within the meaning of Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code was the only defence raised at the trial. That section lays down:

'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.'

2. A Division Bench of this Court in State v. Chhotelal Criminal Ref. No. 26 of 1957 D/- 20-11-1957 : (AIR 1959 Madh Pra 203) to which one of us (Naik J.) was a party, examined in some detail what exactly an accused has to establish in order to claim exemption from criminal responsibility on the ground of insanity within the meaning of Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code. Opinion was expressed therein that -

'With the development of psychiatry as a Recognised branch of medical science, we may have to revise our opinion regarding what constitutes unsoundness of mind for the purpose of Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code as laid down in some of the old cases.'

The law is based on the McNaughten rules as laid down in 1843.

'In 1843 law and medicine were in agreement as to what insanity is. The basis of this agreement was the notion that the mind is divided up into compartments some of which can be diseased while the others remain intact. Since 1843 medical views as to insanity have changed. Psychiatrists now agree that the mind is a whole, a unity, and that a person cannot be mentally and emotionally diseased without his total personality being affected. The courts, however, have continued to use the standards of over a hundred years ago.' (Murder, Madness and The law by Louis H. Cohen, M. D.).

Sir David Henderson and the late R. D. Gilleppie in their 'Textbook of Psychiatry,' 1956 Edition, at p. 712, say:

'The McNaghten rules smack of the ancient and medically out-of-date doctrine or mental faculties, the mind being regarded as divided up into a series of independent compartments the cognitive faculty being one of the large subdivisions. With this doctrine there flourished almost inevitably the belief in the existence of partial insanities in which one mental compartment and faculty was affected and not any other.

Medical views have changed, but the law has not advanced pari passu. Medicine has come to recognise that the mind is a whole, one and indivisible. There is no mental disorder, however partial in appearance, that does not have its reverberations throughout the rest of the affected mind. Consequently the purely intellectual criterion of responsibility falls to the ground, for the intellect as intellect may be unimpaired, but an emotional disturbance will alter or impede or nullify its effect on conduct.

Conversely, intellectual defect means deficient emotional control. There is no allowance made at all for such phenomena as are well known to psychiatrists -- the intrapsychic ataxia of schisopherenia, post-hypnotic and epileptic automatisms, and the overwhelming influence of affective) disorder, which may, for example, cause a depressed parent to murder his children whom he loves, and whom he knows full well it is morally wrong to kill.'

The learned authors have pointed out that the reason for the difference in medical and legal criteria of responsibility was that --

'The former concerns himself with the welfare of the individual, the latter with the safety of society. The difference, however, goes even deeper. The legal concept is of mind dominated by reason and free will the medical concept is of function actuted by emotion and determined by intrinsic factors. In the legal mind everything in consciously known; in medical mind much is unconscious and unknown.''

Consequently, in the practical application of the principle enunciated in Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code, a more progressive attitude will have to be adopted for determining criminal responsibility or a person suffering from 'mental disorders' in the light of recent advances in the medical science especially in the branch of psychiatry.

3. Summarising the present trend of the law on the subject, Kenny in Outlines of Criminal Law, 16th Edition, p. 70, says:

'The result has been that though the doctrines laid down after 'McNaghten's trial remain theoretically unaltered, the practical administration of them affords a wider immunity than their language would at first sight seem to recognize. For many forms of insanity, which do not in themselves constitute those particular defects of reason which the judges recognized as conferring exemption from responsibility, are now habitually treated as being sufficient evidence to show that one or other of those exem-ptive defects was also actually present

A man who, after killing his child, goes forthwith to the police-station to surrender himself, and gives a lucid account of what he has done, would certainly seem to know the nature and quality of the act committed, and to know that to doing it he did wrong. Yet if he had previously shown some symptoms of the madness, and has killed this child with no discoverable motive and no attempt at concealment, a judge would probably encourage a jury to regard these facts as evidence of his labouring under such insanity as would render him irresponsible.'

4. A difficulty is, however created by the accused sometimes setting up a false plea of 'unsound-ness of mind' as a convenient excuse for the crime. It will be observed that the plea is usually put forward in cases involving capital sentence and very rarely, if at all, in cases involving minor offences, possibly because the criminal prefers to serve a short term of imprisonment rather than be certified to a mental hospital for an indefinite period of time. Quite often, the plea is put forward on inadequate grounds, and even when put forward as a defence it is not sought to be established by adequate data.

It is not yet sufficiently realized that the law presumes everyone to be of 'sound mind' until the contrary is proved, and that the burden of proving that he was not criminally responsible for the crime by reason of his 'unsoundness of mind' is on the accused. Even in cases where a person subject to attack of insanity has lucid intervals, the law presumes the offence to have been committed in a lucid interval. See Chhotela's case -- Cr. Ret. No. 26 of 1957, D/-20-11-1957: (AIR 1959 Madh Pra 203) -- paragraphs 8 and 9.

The accused would, therefore, be better advised whiten setting up the plea of 'unsoundness of mind' to specify the type of disorder because mental disorders have now been fairly well classified and their essential characteristics described in some detail in medical text books, which makes it easier to appreciate the evidence bearing on the point in record.

5. Speaking generally, the pattern of the crime, the circumstances under which it has been committed, the manner and method of its execution, the behaviour of the murderer before and after the commission of the crime furnish some of the important clues to ascertain whether by reason of unsoundness of mind the accused was incapable of knowing the nature of the act, or that he was doing what was either wrong or contrary to law.

In all cases where previous insanity is set up, it is most material to consider the circumstances which have preceded, attended and followed the crime: Whether there was deliberation and preparation for the act; whether it was done in a manner which showed a desire to concealment; whether, after the crime, the offender showed consciousness of, guilt, and made efforts to avoid detection; whether, after his arrest, he offered false excuses and, made false statements. All facts of this sort are material, as bearing on the test which Bramwell, B, submitted to a jury in such a case' Would the prisoner have committed the act if there had been a policeman at his elbow.' See Mayne's Criminal Law of India, 4th Edition page 182, part II). Contrasting the distinction between crime pattern of a 'homicidal monomaniac' (the insame murderer) and the criminal (non-insane), murderer, Issac Ray in 'Medical Jurisprudence of Insamity says

'.......the circumstances under which thehomicidal act is perpetrated furnish strong ground for believing that they depend on mental alienation in some form or other; so different are these circumstances from those which attend the name, mission of crime.. In homicidal insanity , murder is without any motive strictly deserving the name; or at most, with one totally inadequate to produce the act in a sane mind. On the contrary, murder is never criminally committed without some motive adequate to the purpose in the mind that is act(sic) ed by it and with obvious reference to the ill-fated victim.

Thus, the motive may be theft, or the arivancement of any personal interest, in which case it will be found that the victim had or was supposed to have property, or was an obstacle to the designs or expectations of another. Or it may be revenge, and then the injury, will be found to leave been received by the murderer from the object his wrath. In short, with the criminal, murder is always a means for accomplishing some selfish object, and is frequently accompanied by the other crime; whereas, with the homicidal' (sic) niac, murder is the only object in view, and is (sic) accompanied by any other improper act.'

'The homicidal monomaniac, after gratifying his bloody desires, testifies neither to (sic) to repentance, nor to satisfaction, and if judicially condemned, perhaps acknowledges the justice of the sentence. The criminal either denies or con-fesses his guilt; if the latter, he either humbly sees yas. for mercy, or glories in his crimes, and leases the world cursing his judges and with his last breath exclaiming against the injustice of his fate.

The criminal never sheds more blood them is necessary for the attainment of his object, thehomicidal monomaniac, often sacrifices all within his reach to the cravings of his murderous proppensity.

The criminal lays plans for the execution ofhis designs; time place and weapons are all suited to his purpose; and, when successful, he either flies from the scene of his enormities, or makes every effort to avoid discovery. The homicidal monomaniac on the contrary, for the most part, con-sults none of the usual conveniences of crime; he falls upon the object of his fury, often times with-out the most proper means for accomplishing his purpose; and perhaps in the presence of a multitude, as if expressly for court observation; and then voluntarily surrenders himself to the constituted authorities. When, as is sometimes the case, he does prepare the means, and calmly and deliberabe-ly executes his project, his subsequent conduct is still the same as in the former instance.

The criminal often has accomplices and alwaysvicious associates; the homicidal monomanies hasneither.

The acts of homicidal insanity are generally, perhaps always, preceded by some striking pecu-liarities in the conduct or character of the individual, strongly contrasting with his natural manifestations; while those of the criminal are in correspondence with the tenor of his past history or character.

In homicidal insanity, a man murders his wife, children, or others to whom he is tenderly attached; this the criminal never does, unless to gratify some evil passion, or gain some other selfish end, too obvious to be overlooked in the slightest investigation.'

6. We will, therefore, examine the facts of the instant case under four broad heads:

(1) Previous history of the accused;

(2) Nature and character of the crime;

(3) Behaviour and conduct previous to thecrime; and

(4) Behaviour and conduct subsequent to the crime; and see if the cumulative effect of all the circumstances established can lead to a reasonable inference that the accused was of 'unsound mind' within the meaning of Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code at the time of the commission of the offence charged.

7. (1) Previous history of the accused: No information has been supplied to us on the previous life history of the accused, prior to a few years ago when he is reported to have got an attack of insanity which lasted for a few months only. The attack is said to be recurring and lasting the winter months only every year. The evidence led is of the close relatives only, e. g., the son Shardaprasad (P. W. 2), the brother Ramdas (P. W. 3) and the widowed sister Sahodrabai (P. W. 4). The wife Betibai has not been examined, though, In our opinion, she would have furnished some valuable data on the question of his previous behaviour and how his mind worked ordinarily and during the period of the attack.

According to these witnesses, the accused used to get these attacks of insanity evety year in the winter months when the following symptoms were generally observed. He used to sit quietly and gaze, did not reply to questions but would go away, did not take his meals for 4 to 6 days at a stretch, did not sleep for nights together, smoked heavily 6 bundles of bidis per day, moved a nut-cutter making monotonous noises and used to light a fire /kwuh and warmed himself by it. Some defence witnessies were also examined in support of the defence plea of insanity. Of these Dr. Pachori (D. W. 5) is the only one who seems to be of some value. Ho had examined the accused about three years ago. He states:

'I had treated the accused Ramdulare. His complaints were, insomnia, loss of appetite, giddiness, vague anxiety. He was a patient of anxiety neurosis.

I had treated Ramdulare medically for about 15 days. I did not find any improvement with my treatment .......The behaviour of Ramdulare wasquite normal.'

The other defence witnesses very much exaggerated the symptoms and their evidence has rightly been discarded by the trial Court. We generally agree with the criticism of these witnesses by the learned Additional Sessions Judge detailed in paragraphs 46 to 54 of his judgment.

8. It is significant that there is no reliable evidence of any violent conduct on the part of the accused. Shardaprasad (P. W. 2) admits that he did not see the accused beating or assaulting anybody. Gayatri (D. W. 1) and Babulal (D. W. 7) also admit that the accused was never violent. Bamdas's (P. W. 3's) statement that the accused had once gone out to beat some person is of no help as, in the first place, we do not know, whenthe incident occurred and, secondly, we do not know under what circumstances the assault was attempted.

The testimony of Sahodrabai (P. W. 4) is equally uphelpful as though, according to her, the accused beat her once, she does not detail the circumstances under which she, was assaulted. The mere fact of assault without anything more would be no evidence of an abnormal conduct. We thus have a very unsatisfactory picture of the previous history of the accused. Also we do not have any clear mental picture of his when he was supposed to be normal. Therefore, it is not possible for us to hold that there was any deviation in his condition from the normal.

9. (2) Nature and character of the crime --There is nothing in the nature and character of the crime to excite suspicion. No more force than necessary to kill the deceased was used. There was no unreasonable violence, nor any brutality, nor any evidence that more blood was spilled than was necessary to satisfy any craving of any possible murderous propensities of the accused.

10. Behaviour and conduct previous to the crime. -- There is no evidence of any abnormal conduct immediately previous to the crime. On the other hand, there are certain facts which strongly militate against the plea of insanity. The evidence shows that the crime was not only deliberate and premeditated but also that it was committed after the accused had taken precautions to avoid its detection. He had made preparations for the disposal of the dead body of his victim by digging a hole in an inner room of the house where he may have thought that detection was more difficult.

Ramdas (P. W. 3) tells us that there was no hole in that room and that the accused had locked himself in the room adjoining on the previous night when he went to sleep there. He had thus ample opportunity to dig a hole there. Usually he slept on the first floor but on the night previous there was some quarrel between the accused and his wife and on their son Shardaprasad's (P. W. 2) remonstration with him that the quarrel unnecessarily disturbed him in his studies, the accused came downstairs with his bedding to sleep in a room on the ground floor.

It is significant that the accused has not cared to lead evidence of his wife to establish whether the cause of the quarrel was the waywardness of an abnormal mind or whether there was some other reason for the quarrel which the accused is not interested in disclosing fully. The absence of the wife from the witness-box cannot be explained and goes very much against the accused. Again, in the morning, the accused got up as usual and Ramdas (P. W. 3) saw nothing unusual in his conduct or demeanour to excite suspicion. At 9-30 or so, when Chhiddi Nai came to the house and called for Ramkali to open the door, Ramdas (P. W. 3) asked the accused to open the door.

The accused then responded by saying that he would open the door. (See para 2 of the evidence of P. W. 2). The door was eventually opened by him and he let the deceased in. After committing the crime, he dragged the body inside the inner room and buried it in a pit and then filled the pit with earth. When discovered by Shardaprasad (P. W. 2), he confessed to the crime; and when everybody in the house remonstrated with him, he quietly went to the kotwali and made a detailed import of the incident (Ex. P-10).

He also offered to discover the dead body for which a memorandum (Ex. P-11) was recorded, and he in pursuance of it discovered the dead body.The events followed in an orderly sequence and have not been satisfactorily explained. They, however, amply indicate that the accused had planned the murder, for reasons which he does not care todisclose, with care, caution and deliberation.

11. Behaviour and conduct subsequent to the crime--There is no evidence of any abnormal conduct subsequent to the commission of the crime. In the jail he was kept under observation. The report (Ex. P-38) of Dr. Gupta (P. W. 1) is that he behaved well and rationally, slept well and was physically and mentally healthy. According to him, the accused was of sound mind. According to the son of the accused, Shardaprasad (P. W. 2), who visited the accused in the jail, the accused had complained to him that he was not being looked after well by the jail doctors.

During the trial, there was no evidence of any abnormal conduct. On the other hand, his replies in his examination under Section 342 of the Code of Criminal Procedure indicate that he had a full appreciation of his position and his answers were well calculated to help his plea of insanity. He evaded replies to all the important questions by stating:

^^eq>s dqN gks'k ugha Fkk**

According to Shardaprasad (P. W. 2), Ramdas (P. W. 3) and Sahodrabai (P. W. 4), there was no loss of memory immediately after the incident, and looking to the circumstances of the case the statement of the accused that he does nof remember anything now appears to be highly suspicious,

12. As stated by Cohen in 'Murder, Madness and The Law' at p. 152 :

'The behaviour of a human being has continuity, there is marked day-to-day consistency of action and attitude in the individual. There are changes and modifications, but these are usually gradual. The signs of oncoming changes can be seen early, and their gradual increase and growth can be followed. And when a serious change has occurred, its effects persist for a considerable time. If a reversal of the change eventuates, this reversal too is usually gradual, giving progressive evidence of itself. Particularly is this true in the development of psychosis. Psychosis is characterized by a marked change in personality. The change is gradual and progressive, extending over periods of weeks and months or more. True, the onset of psychosis is more rapid in some cases than in others, but even when we speak of a sudden onset, we are thinking in terms of days and weeks. 'Sudden' here means relatively rapid, but not abrupt, without warning, overnight.

Even where there is some specific precipitating incident such as a sudden emotional or financial disaster, the psychotic act is either the consummation of days of brooding and worry, withdrawal and shutting-in, or the precipitating shock falls on already shaky ground, giving but the final push to an already unstable, unbalanced persona-lity. Once the psychotic act has been precipitated, recovery is a matter of gradual progressive building up, reintegration, reorganization. The person is not sane one day and psychotic the next, nor is he psychotic one day and sane the next.

Temporary insanity may be within the realm of theoretical possibility but not of probability. If no increasing signs of abnormality are to be found in the defendant's life, no history of instability and increasing tension leading up to the alleged psychotic incident, and if. after the incident, there are no psychotic hangovers, no persisting symptoms of abnormality then a plea of temporary insanity is suspect indeed'

The evidence in the case does not disclose any orderly progressive deterioration in the mental condition of the accused leading up to and precipitating in the murder of the deceased, nor does it show that the accused had any 'psychotic hangovers' or 'persisting symptoms of abnormality.' We are therefore left in doubt as to the true mental picture of the accused when he committed the crime. We are further fortified in our suspicions, because the accused has attempted to establish his plea by leading evidence on a jumble of facts which would fit in any and every kind of insanity.

13. Examining the evidence we have no doubt that the accused knew that he was killing a human being. He was, therefore, conscious of the nature of the act. As to whether he knew that what he was doing was either wrong or contrary to law, Mayne says :

'When we talk of a man knowing that murder is wrong and contrary to law, we mean that the knowledge forms an essential part of the stock of principles which govern every moment of his life. That whenever he is tempted to commit a murder, his mind must necessarily at the same time contemplate the fact that if he does commit it, he will be probably be hung, and in any case his life will become a burthen to him, from the constant chance of his being found Out. There is no ordinary murderer of whom this, at least, may not be stated with certainty. But can it be said of all lunatics? Of many, no doubt, it can, but certainty not of all. When we say of a lunatic that 'his mind is unhinged,' we use a phrase which seems to me to embody a very important truth. His mind is still there, but it is dislocated. The facts which make up his knowledge are still there, but they have ceased to be in connection with, or to bear upon, each other. They have passed from being principles of conduct to being barren pieces of information -- such as the statement that we may each drop down dead at any moment -- which everyone believes, and by which no one is influenced.' (p. 176 supra).

TO recapitulate, in the instant case the crime was deliberate. It also appears that it was premeditated. The accused had made preparations for burying the dead body digging a hole in the room because Ramdas (P. W. 3) tells us that there was no hole in that room previously. The hole was big enough to enable the body being fully buried, and as the time taken between the arrival of the deceased into the house and his eventual strangulation and burial was a few minutes only, it stands to reason that the pit must have been dug by the accused in the night

In this context the statement of Ramdas (P. W. 3) that the accused had closed his room from inside on the night preceding the murder becomes significant. The accused had buried the body in a pit in an inside room of his house which was not usually inhabited but was used as a lumber room. This could only be to avoid detection. We have therefore, come to the conclusion that this is not a case where the accused had only a glimmering knowledge of what was right and wrong, but that the sanction provided by the criminal law acted as a deterrent, 'influencing, guiding and controlling his conduct' and that to use the words of Lord Bramwell, the accused 'would not have yielded to his insanity if a policeman had been at his elbow.'

14. We see no reason to interfere with the finding of the learned Additional Sessions Judge that the accused-appellant had failed to establish his plea of insanity.

15. The appeal fails and is dismissed.


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