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Mental illness of death row convicts ground to spare them from gallows: SC

Mental illness of death row convicts ground to spare them from gallows: SC

On April 18, 2019, the Supreme Court said that the mental patient cannot be punished for hanging. This historical verdict of the Supreme Court has created new hopes for the prisoners who were sentenced to death, who got infected with severe mental illness after conviction.

Justice MM Shantanagoudar and Indira Banerjee's three-judge bench, headed by Justice N.V. Raman, passed this ruling.

Main Point:

  • A bench headed by Justice N.V. Raman has said that the health condition of the person convicted of death will now be the reason for the death penalty for the appeals court.
  • According to the Supreme Court, the mental state of the inmates for the appellate courts will be an important aspect to not be sentenced to hanging.
  • The bench said that the accused can now petition for 'legalized insanity' under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) to avoid criminal prosecution. At the same time the defendants can add it to the time of the crime.
  • The bench gave relief from the conviction of the convicted prisoner because he did not know the consequences of the incident due to his mental condition.
  • In order to prevent misuse of the directive, the bench said that the burden will be on the accused to prove that he is suffering from severe mental illness with clear evidence.
  • The court said that in the appropriate cases, the court may constitute a panel for expert reports on the claims of mental illness of the convicts.

Background:

In Maharashtra, in 1999, he was sentenced to death for his brutal gang-rape and murder with two minor cousins. Although the bench, in view of the seriousness of the crime, ordered the convict to remain in prison till the age and ordered the government to take proper care of his mental health.

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