Criminal Appeal No. 58 of 1962

Decided On: 19.03.1964

Appellants:Dahyabhai Chhaganbhai Thakker
Respondent:State of Gujarat

Hon'ble Judges/Coram:
K.C. Das Gupta, K. Subba Rao and Raghubar Dayal JUDGMENT

K. Subba Rao, J.

1. This appeal raises the question of the defence of insanity for an offence under s. 302 of the Indian Penal Code.

2. The appellant was the husband of the deceased Kalavati. She was married to the appellant in the year 1958. On the night of April 9, 1959, as usual, the appellant and his wife slept in their bed-room and the doors leading to that room were bolted from inside. At about 3 or 3.30 a.m. on the next day Kalavati cried that she was being killed. The neighbours collected in front of the said room and called upon the accused to open the door. When the door was opened they found Kalavati dead with a number of wounds on her body. The accused was sent up for trial to the sessions on the charge of murder. Before the Additional Sessions Judge, Kaira, a defence was set up that the accused was insane when the incident was alleged to have taken place and was not capable of understanding the nature of his act.

3. The learned Additional Sessions Judge considered the entire evidence placed before him, and came to the conclusion that the accused had failed to satisfy him that when he committed the murder of his wife he was not capable to knowing the nature of the act and that what he was doing was either wrong or contrary to law. Having rejected his plea of insanity, the learned Additional Sessions Judge convicted him under s. 302 of the Indian Penal Code and sentenced him to undergo rigorous imprisonment for life. On appeal the High Court agreed with that finding, though for different reasons, and confirmed the conviction and sentence of the accused. Hence the present appeal.

4. Learned counsel for the appellant contended that the High Court, having believed the evidence of the prosecution witnesses, should have held that the accused had discharged the burden placed on him of proving that at the time he killed his wife he was incapable of knowing the nature of his act or what he was doing was either wrong or contrary to law. He further contended that even if he had failed to establish that fact conclusively, the evidence adduced was such as to raise a reasonable doubt in the mind of the Judge as regards one of the ingredients of the offence, namely, criminal intention, and, therefore, the court should have acquitted him for the reason that the prosecution had not proved the case beyond reasonable doubt.

5. Before we address ourselves to the facts of the case and the findings arrived at by the High Court, it would be convenient to notice the relevant aspects of the law of the plea of insanity. At the outset let us consider the material provisions without reference to decided cases. The said provisions are :


Section 299 - Whoever causes death by doing an act with the intention of causing death, or with the intention of causing such bodily injury as is likely to cause death, or with the knowledge that he is likely by such act to cause death, commits the offence of culpable homicide........