Anna Chandy, J.
1. The accused in S. C. 32 of 1958 of the Telli-cherry Sessions Court is the appellant. He has been convicted under Section 302, I. P. C., and sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for life for causing the death of his mother by inflicting multiple injuries.
2. The accused Kannan aged 45 and his mother Perukkachi aged 70 were living in a house by the side of the road opposite to the Canannore Central Jail. The unmarried accused and his mother were the only occupants of the house. At about 4 P. M, on 29-7-1958 the accused who had been away since morning returned home. At 7 P. M. his mother went out to the nearby teashop and purchased a glass of tea wbich she took home. It appears that the accused used frequently to quarrel with his mother over the quality of food she used to serve him. At about 7-30 p.m., P.W. 2 a cousin of the accused living in a house closeby heard a commotion in the accused's house.
She heard Perukkachi crying out that she was being killed and the accused replying that she deserves something more than killing. She rushed up but when she neared the well on the northern side of the accused's house the accused opening the front door came out and scared her away saying that he would finish off any one coming near. He went back into the house and closed the door. The old woman continued to cry out. The commotion attracted the neighbours as well as the people walking along the public road nearby.
They heard the woman pleading with her Son not to kill bis old mother, but all of them were frightened to enter the building. Soon the woman's cries ceased. Then the accused ocened the front door and came out wearing a white banian and a pair of Khaki shorts both spattered with blood. He walked away to the north of the house. Those gathered in front of the house could see through the open door the woman lying in the verandah inside the house, Pw. 1, the local Amson Menon, who was one of those who had gathered there went to the Cannanore Police and lodged the first information. His statement is Ext. P-1. The Sub-Inspector of Police, P.W. 10 with some constables rushed to the scene. They found the accused sitting in the compound on the northern side of thehouse. He was arrested on the spot. The dead body of Pnukkachi was sent to the Canannore District Hospital. After due investigation the case was charge-sheeted.
3. The accused in his statement before the committing Magistrate pleaded ignorance of the whole matter and said that he was not present in his house at that time. Before the trial court he stated that when he returned home that evening he found his cousin one Kannan in his house and that he does not know when Kannan left. He further stated that he used to get epileptic fits and he does not remember anything that happened.
4. That Pirukkachi was injured and found dead at about 8 p, m. on 29-7-1958 on the verandah of her house is not disputed. Pws. 1, 3 and 4 saw her lying dead with injuries. Ext. P-8 is the inquest report. Ext. p-4 is the post-mortem certificate. Pw. 8 the Civil Assistant Surgeon who conducted the autopsy says that he noted the following injuries :--
'1. An incised wound on the chin more to the right 2 1/2 x 1/2 bonedeep. Mandible has been cut and completely fractured at that site.
2. Incised wound on the centre of forehead about 1 1/4' x 1/2' Crack-fracture of the skull underneath 7 1/2' in length.
3. Incised wound 1' x 1/4' x 1/8' just above the left eye-brow perpendicular to it.
4. Incised wound about 1' x 1/2' bone deep on the lateral end of the left eye-brow.
5. Incised wound 1/2' x 4' on the left cheek bone prominence.
6. Two abrasions each about 1/4' x 1/4' in front of the left ear.
7. Incised wound in the middle of the pinna of the left ear cutting the pinna into two,
8. Incised wound about 1' x 1/4' x 1/2' just in from of the right ear.
9. Abrasion 1/2' x 1/2' below the right eye.
10. Contusion over the right angle of the mandible about 2' x 2'. Dark blood clots underneath & fracture of the mandible present.
11. Incised wound about 1' x 1/2' x 1' behind the right ear.
12. Incised wound 1 1/2' x 1 1/4' on the scalp about 2' above the left ear.
13. Incised wound about 3' x 1/2' on the top of head bone deep.
14. Abrasions 1' x 1/2' over the upper part of right leg anteriorly. Tibia and Fibula completely fractured underneath the injury.'
Pw. 8 is of the opinion that the incised injuries could be caused by a chopper like M. O. 1 and the contusions and abrasions and the fracture below the right knee could be caused by the use of hard and rough substances like MO. 2, stick of fire-wood and MO. 3 reaper. According to the doctor injuries 1, 2 und 10 to 14 are grievous and Nos. 2 and 14 are sufficient in the ordinary course to produce shock which might result in death. The cause of death was shock and haemorrhage due to multiple injuries sustained and according to the witness the victim would have died between one to one and half hours after sustaining the injuries.
5. There is also ample evidence to prove beyond doubt that it was the accused who inflicted the injuries. It is in evidence and it is admitted by the accused that he and his mother were the only occupants of the house. The accused's statement that a cousin of bis named Kannan was found in the house when he returned home in the evening, does not find any support from the evidence before us. There is nothing in the evidenceto show that the accused has a cousin Kannan by name, or that such a person ever visited the house.
6. P. W. 2 a niece of Pirukkachi whose house is but a few yards away from the accused's, swears that at 4 p. m. on 29-7-1958 she saw the accused returning home from the bazaar. At about 6 p. m. she saw the accused sleeping in his house. Sometime later at about 7 p. m. she saw the deceased going to the neighbouring tea-shop and returning with a glass of tea. At about 7-30 p. m. she heard a commotion in the accused's house. She heard Pirukkachi's cry that she was being killed and the accused's reply that she deserved something more than killing. The witness ran to the house, but as she came up to the well on the northern side of the house the accused opened the front door and came out. There were blood stains on the banian he was wearing. He threatened to kill any one who came near.
This induced the witness to rush back to her house and close the doors. Pw. 1 is the local Am-som Menon. He swears that about 7-30 p. m. while walking along the road near the accused's house he heard a commotion and saw people running in the direction of the accused's house. He went near the house and heard Pirukkachi crying out pleading to her son not to kill his mother. He could also hear the sound of beating and the accused replying that mere killing would not be sufficient. The sounds continued for sometime. The witness repeatedly asked the persons who gathered there to save the woman, but no one dared to enter the house. After some time the sounds ceased and the accused came out through the front door. He was wearing a white banion and a pair of khaki shorts.
His dress and hands were stained with blood. The accused then turned & walked towards the northern side of the house. The door was left open by the accused & the witness could see the woman lying in a pool of blood on the verandah inside the house. He rushed to the police station and reported the matter and returned to the scene with the police. He speaks to the arrest of the accused from where he was sitting on the northern side of the house as also to the recovery of the billhook, the fire-wood piece and the reaper (Mos. 1 to 3) all stained with blood.
The testimony of this witness is fully supported by the evidence of witnesses 3, 4 and 5. Pw. 3 who had previously married Pirukkachi's younger sister was conducting a stationery shop in a building only a few yards distant. Pw. 4 is a tenant of one of the shop buildings, and Pw. 5 is the Head Warder of the Canannore Central Jail who happened to pass by along the road. Their evidence fully supports that of Pw. 1. The statement of Pw. 3 that he peeped into the house and actually saw the accused inflicting the injuries was not acted upon by the trial Court. However the learned Judge has held, and rightly so, that the prosecution has proved beyond doubt that it was the accused who inflicted the injuries on his mother.
7. The next question for consideration and the only point stressed before us is whether the plea of insanity can be sustained. Pw. 2 the accused's cousin and Pw. 3 who had at one time married the accused's aunt both say that the accused used to suffer frequently from epileptic fits. Pw. 2 states that the accused was subject to these fits from the age of 10 or 15 and that the attacks would come once a month or even once a week. Pw. 2 further swears that the accused would begin to show signs of madness some twenty-four hours before the actual epileptic seizure. During these periods the accused used to abuse his mother and rush out of his house like a mad man. Pw. 2 adds that when the epileptic fits occur the accused would fall down unconscious and get up about half-an-hour later completely recovered.
It is also in evidence that Pirukkachi noticed the signs of an approaching epileptic seizure and told Pw. 2 about it after the accused bad gone out in the morning. Thus there is enough evidence in the case to show that the accused was subject to periodic epileptic fits from his childhood onwards, that he would begin to exhibit signs of mental instability some 24 hours before such attacks, and also that symptoms of an impending epileptic, seizure were seen on the day of the incident.
8. Modi in his book on Medicial Jurisprudence (Vide XIth Edn. pp. 372 and 373) describes the nature of epileptic insanity thus :--
'The disease is generally characterized by short transitory fits of uncontrollable mania followed by complete recovery. The attacks, however, become more and more frequent. Lastly, there is general impairment of the mental faculties with loss of memory and self-control. At the same time hallucinations of sight and hearing occur and are followed by delusions of a persecuting nature.
Epileptic insane persons are deprived of all moral sensibility, are given to the lowest forms of vice and sexual excesses, and are sometimes dangerous to themselves as well as to others. In many long standing cases there is usually feeble-mindedness leading to progressive dementia of the most degraded character.
True epileptic insanity is that which is associated with epileptic fits. This may occur before or after the fits, or may replace them, and is known as pre-epileptic insanity, post-epileptic insanity and masked or psychic insanity.
Pre-Epileptic insanity is very common and may replace the epileptic aura, lasting in some cases for hours or even days. It is characterized by violent fits of maniacal excitement or by depression fussincss, suspiciousness and general malaise. Hallucinations of various kinds are experienced and, owing to delusions, the patient may commit violent assaults, or may bring false charges against innocent persons. Sometimes, the patient may refuse to take any food.'
Considered in the light of these characteristic symptoms of epileptic insanity, it is clear that if the accused assaulted his mother during a period of epileptic insanity he certainly would not have known at the moment the nature of his act.
9. Apart from the items of evidence already referred to there are other indications to show that the accused was incapable of knowing that he was doing something wrong or contrary to law. The prosecution seems to suggest that the accused's occasional quarrels with his mother over the quality of the food which she served him constitute a motive for the crime. It is in evidence that but for these quarrels the mother and son were living in harmony. It would be puerile to hold that an occasional quarrel over the quality of meals would motivate a mature man to hack to death his old and defenceless mother. It is seen from the evidence that three weapons namely, a bill-hook, a wooden reaper and a stick of fire-wood were used in the attack. It is also clear from the evidence of Pws. 1 to 5 and the number of injuries noted on the dead body that the assault continued for some time. The accused's reply to the deceased's plea not to kill his old mother, that she deserved something more than mere killing is also significant
The accused made no attempt whatsoever either to conceal his crime or to escape from the scene. When the police arrived they found him sitting quietly by the side of the house, his dress and hands smeared with blood. The complete absence of motive or provocation, the nature and multiplicity of the weapons used, the duration of the attack the maniacal fury with which the attack was delivered and his subsequent conduct are all indications that the accused was acting under some insane impulse. We do not find our way to uphold the learned Sessions Judge's finding that there is no evidence in the case to sustain the plea of insanity.
10. We therefore find that the accused caused the death of his mother by inflicting the injuries noted in Ext. P-4. But his act is saved by Section 84 I. P. C. from constituting an offence. The accused is therefore acquitted, but in conformity with Section 471, Criminal Procedure Code we direct that the accused be detained in safe custody in the Canna-nore Central Jail. This shall be reported to the State Government for taking such further action as may be deemed necessary.