Mohd Anwar v. State (N.C.T. of Delhi)
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1551 OF 2010
[ARISING OUT OF SPECIAL LEAVE PETITION (CRL.) NO. 3388 OF 2010] decided on August 19, 2020
Bench: N.V. Ramana, S. Abdul Nazeer, Surya Kant, JJ
The complainant was riding his motorcycle at midnight. Three accused including the petitioner caught him and assaulted him, they were armed with knife and revolver, they took away the thirty thousand rupees from him. The accused threatened the complainant that if he would report this to police he would be stabbed to death and then the boys escaped, afterwards the victim registered a complaint in the nearest police station. The Trial Court held that all three accused guilty of robbery with attempt to grievous hurt and sentenced them to seven years of rigorous imprisonment under section 397 and 334 of IPC and under section 25 of Arms Act.
Later the appellant raised new arguments of juvenility and insanity before the High Court, they claimed that petitioner’s age was merely 15 years at the time of incident and he was undergoing treatment for a mental disorder at a government hospital. It was supported by a copy of an OPD card and the testimony of the appellants mother who stated that he sometimes had to be kept chained at home to prevent harm to himself and others. The High Court took notice of the appellants age being 21 years at the time of recording of his Section 313 Cr.P.C. statement in March 2004 and concluded that the appellant would therefore have been an able-minded major at the time of incident.
Whether accussed can claim the defence of mental unsoundness under section 84 of IPC?
The Supreme Court based its reliance in the High Court’s judgement said that its decision is well reasoned and unimpeachable. The Court also held that appellant’s bail bonds were cancelled and the respondent-State was directed to take the appellant into custody to serve the remainder of his sentence.
The Supreme Court noted that no evidence was presented in the form of a birth certificate, school record or medical test nor any expert examination by the appellant. Instead, the Court found that the statement recorded under Section 313 CrPC shows that the appellant was above 18 years around the time of the incident, which is a far departure from the claimed age of 15 years.
The plea of mental disorder too remained unsubstantiated. No deposition was made by any witness, nor did the appellant himself claim any such impairment during his Section 313 CrPC statement. On the contrary, his conduct of running away from the spot of the crime as well as the attempt to escape from the bus evidence an elevated level of mental intellect. It was held that Mere production of photocopy of an OPD card and statement of mother on affidavit have little, if any, evidentiary value. In order to successfully claim defence of mental unsoundness under Section 84 of IPC, the accused must show by preponderance of probabilities that he/she suffered from a serious-enough mental disease or infirmity which would affect the individual’s ability to distinguish right from wrong.