N.K. Das, J.
1. Petitioner has been convicted Under Section 307, I.P.C. and has been sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for four years on the allegation that he attempted to commit murder by stabbing knife (sic) on P.W. 2, a girl aged 15 years but was unsuccessful in his attempt. The motive is that the petitioner persuaded the victim girl to marry him but the girl refused.
2. Prosecution case is that the parents of the victim girl (P.W. 2) work as doctors in the Sundargarh District Headquarters Hospital. The petitioner was residing in the house of his sister who happens to be a nurse in the hospital, whose quarter is nearby the quarters of parents of P.W. 2. On 8-5-1978 in the morning at about 8 A.M. P.W. 2 went to the school and returned half an hour after with some of her friends including P.W. 5 to her house. P.W. 2 went to a short distance to see off her friends and while she was returning the petitioner came from a nearby place in a threatening attitude and while P.W. 2 was proceeding hurriedly towards the quarter, the petitioner caught hold of her left hand and stabbed a knife on her right stomach, waist and P.W. 2 fell down when the petitioner gave some blows on her face. P.W. 2 was taken to the hospital where P.W. 1, the doctor examined and treated her. It is further alleged that the petitioner went to Sundargarh Sadar Police Station and before the Officer-in-charge (PW 8) and in presence of P,W, 6 produced the knife (M.O. I) which was seized by the Investigating Officer.
The defence plea is complete denial of the incident but the petitioner has admitted that prior to the occurrence. P.W.
2 used to come to his house for lessons and he was treating her as his younger sister. He never gave any proposal for marriage. He has taken further plea of insanity at the time of occurrence.
3. The courts below have come to the conclusion that the prosecution story as to assault on P.W. 2 has been proved and the plea of insanity of the petitioner cannot be accepted and accordingly the petitioner has been convicted.
4. P.W. 2 is the victim girl and P.W. 3 is an eye-witness to the occurrence. P.W. 3 has narrated the incident immediately after the occurrence to P.W. 4. The evidence of P.W. 2 is corroborated not only by the doctor, P.W. 1 as to the existence of the injuries on her body by means of a knife but also by the evidence of P.Ws. 3 and 4. P.W. 5 is the friend of P.W. 2 who narrated the fact that she had gone with P.W. 2 to the house of her parents and P.W. 2 came back to leave her at some distance. After going through the evidence, I am satisfied that the prosecution has been able to establish that the petitioner has assaulted P.W. 2 by means of a knife which he produced before the Investigating Officer at the Police Station shortly after the occurrence. This knife has also been seized in presence of P.W. 6. Accordingly, I hold that the prosecution has been able to establish the story of assault on P.W. 2 by the petitioner.
5. The petitioner has taken the plea of insanity. According to Section 84 of the I.P.C., 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.
In Dahyabhai Chhaganbhai Thakkar v. State of Gujarat , it has been held that when a plea of legal insanity is setup, the Court has to consider whether at the time of commission of the offence the accused, by reason of unsoundness of mind, was incapable of knowing the nature of the act or that he was doing what was either wrong or contrary to law. The crucial point of time for ascertaining the state of mind of the accused is that time when the offence was committed. Whether the accused was in such a state of mind as to be entitled to the benefit of Section 84 of I.P.C. can only be established from the circumstances which preceded, attended and followed the crime. According to Section 105 of the Evidence Act, the burden of proving the existence of circumstances bringing the case within the exception lies on the accused; and the court shall presume the absence of such circumstances. Section 105 of the Evidence Act read with Section 104 thereof, the Court shall regard the absence of such circumstances as proved unless, after considering the matters before it, it believes that the said circumstances existed or their existence was so probable that a prudent man ought, under the circumstances of the particular case, to act upon the supposition that they did exist. To put it in other words, the accused will have to rebut the presumption that such circumstances did not exist, by placing material before the court sufficient to make it consider the existence of said circumstances so probable that a prudent man would act upon them.s The accused had to satisfy the standard of a prudent man. If the material placed before the court, such as, oral and documentary evidence, presumptions, admissions or even the prosecution evidence, satisfies the test of prudent man, the accused will have discharged the burden. The evidence so placed may not be sufficient to discharge the burden Under Section 105 of the Evidence Act, but it may raise a reasonable doubt in the mind of a Judge as regards one or other of the necessary ingredients of the offence itself. It may, for instance, raise a reasonable doubt in the mind of the Judge whether the accused had the requisite intention laid down in Section 299 of the Penal Code. If the Judge has such reasonable doubt, he has to acquit the accused, for in that event the prosecution will have failed to prove conclusively the guilt of the accused. The doctrine of burden of proof in the context of the plea of insanity may be stated in the following propositions:
(1) The prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused had committed the offence with the requisite mens rea; and the burden of proving that always rests on the prosecution from the beginning to the end of the trial.
(2) There is a rebuttable presumption that the accused was not insane, when he committed the crime, in the sense laid down by Section 84 of the Penal Code; the accused may rebut it by placing before the court all the relevant evidenceoral, documentary or circumstantial, but the burden of proof upon him is no higher than that rests upon a party to civil proceedings;
(3) Even if the accused was not able to establish conclusively that he was insane at the time he committed the offence, the evidence placed before the court by the accused or by the prosecution may raise a reasonable doubt in the mind of the court as regards one or more of the ingredients of the offence, including mens rea of the accused and in that case the court would be entitled to acquit the accused on the ground that the general burden of proof resting on the prosecution was not discharged. The principle laid down in Dahyabhai Chhaganbhai Thakkar v. State of Gujarat
has also been reiterated in Jailal v. Delhi Administration . It has been held in that decision that on the
question of insanity, the state of mind of the accused before and after the crucial time is relevant. If a person 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 he cannot be guilty of any criminal intent. Such a person lacks the requisite mens rea and is entitled to an acquittal. The general burden is on the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt not only the actus reus but also the mens rea. In Sarka Gundusa v. State, , it has been held that for establishing the plea
Under Section 84 of the I.P.C., the following ingredients are to be proved:a) that the accused was insane, (b) that he was insane at the time when he committed the act and not merely before or after the act, and (c) that as a.result of the unsoundness of mind the accused was incapable of knowing the nature of the act or that he was doing what was really wrong or contrary to law. Further every type of insanity recognised in medical science is not legal insanity. There can be no legal insanity unless the cognitive faculty of mind is destroyed as a result of unsoundness of mind to such an extent as to render the accused incapable of knowing the nature of the act or that what he is doing is wrong or contrary to law. Although no hard and fast rule can be laid down and the conclusion would vary according to the facts and circumstances of each case, certain broad tests based on objective standards, are generally looked into by Courts. These are antecedent and subsequent conduct of the person accused of the offence. Such conduct is not per se enough, but is relevant only to show what the state of the mind of the accused was at the time of the commission of the act. Some indication of the precise state of the offender's mind at the time of the commission of the act is often furnished by the words of the offender used while committing the act or immediately before or after the commission. Speaking generally the pattern of the crime, the circumstances under which it was committed, the manner and method of its execution, and the behaviour of the offender before or after the commission of the crime furnish some of the important clues to ascertain whether the accused had no cognitive faculty to know the nature of the act or that what he was doing is either wrong or contrary to law. In the case of Mst. Shanti Devi v. State , it has been held that where a plea of legal
insanity is setup, 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 desire to conceal; whether after the crime, the offender showed consciousness of guilt and made efforts to avoid detection. In order to find whether the accused was by reason of unsoundness of mind incapable of knowing the nature of the act, a Court may rely not only on defence evidence, but also on what is elicited from the prosecution witnesses as well as on circumstantial evidence consisting of the previous history of the accused and his subsequent conduct in the surrounding circumstances including absence of motive. Generally, a case in which the sanity of the accused is called in question, motivation for the crime with which he is charged assumes unusual importance because if a serious crime like murder is committed by a man, who had absolutely no rational motive to commit it, the plea of unsoundness of mind can be more easily established than in other rases. This has been approved by this Court in Makra Singh v. State, (1973) 39 Cut LT 1289.
6. If the materials available on record in the instant case are considered in the light of the observations made by the Supreme Court and this Court, it would appear that the petitioner was hospitalised for unsoundness of mind in Febru- ary 1978 which has been substantiated by the evidence of the doctor P.W. 1 of the S.C.B. Medical College Hospital, Cuttack and Exts. B and C. Three days prior t
7. In the result, the revision is allowed. The petitioner is acquitted of the charge levelled against him on benefit of doubt. The conviction and the sentence passed against the petitioner are set aside. The bail bonds are discharged.