HC acquits mentally ill man of patricide

  • | Monday | 24th January, 2022

Madurai, Jan 24 (PTI) The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has acquitted a mentally unsound, unemployed man held on the charge of murdering his father in 2015 by observing that a trial court had not considered his medical history - paranoid schizophrenia - in this case in proper perspective. A Division Bench of Justices S Vaidyanathan and G Jayachandran passed the acquittal order recently while allowing a criminal appeal from K Durairaj of Tiruchirappally. According to the prosecution, Durairaj killed his father Kuppusamy by throwing a grinding stone on his head. The local police had arrested him and booked him for murder. Though the Principal Sessions Judge in Tiruchirappally was told the accused was suffering from mental illness (paranoid schizophrenia), the judge did not attach much importance to this and awarded life imprisonment to Durairaj in January, 2018. Challenging this, the accused preferred the present criminal appeal. Allowing the same, the Bench pointed out that paranoid schizophrenia literally meant disintegration of mind and it included hallucination and delusion. On considering the evidence of the prosecution witness (the mother of the accused) and another, it was clear that the appellant was jobless though he was a BE graduate. He was earlier working as a lecturer in an engineering college, but resigned. The depression, coupled with a disturbed marital life, had aggravated his mental illness. Just before the occurrence, he had also quarrelled with his father over unemployment. On considering the medical issue of the appellant and in the light of the evidence of two defence witnesses in his favour, the judges said they were of the view the trial court had not considered the medical history of the appellant in proper perspective. Though there were ample medical records to show that Durairaj was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia since 2006 and was under irregular treatment, the trial court had gone wrong in holding that there was no evidence to show that on the date of occurrence, there was no proof that he was suffering from the mental illness. By preponderance of probability, the appellant had established through his medical records that at the time of occurrence, he was suffering from a serious mental illness. In view of this fact, the appellant is entitled to the benefit of exception under relevant section of the IPC and in terms of Section 105 of the Indian Evidence Act has clearly discharged his onus through medical evidence to avail the benefit, the judges pointed out and set aside the conviction order of the lower court. They also directed that the appellant"s wife be granted his custody, as she had agreed to take care of him. PTI CORR SA NVG NVG

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