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Indian Case Summary

Shrikant Anandrao Bhosale vs State Of Maharashtra on 26 September, 2002 – Case Summary

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In the case of Shrikant Anandrao Bhosale vs State Of Maharashtra on 26 September, 2002, the Supreme Court of India was faced with a complex legal and medical issue. The primary question was whether the appellant, Shrikant Anandrao Bhosale, was insane at the time of committing the crime he was convicted for, and if so, whether this insanity could serve as a valid defense under Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Facts of the Case

Shrikant Anandrao Bhosale, a police constable, was convicted by the Sessions Court for the murder of his wife, Surekha, under Section 302 of the IPC, and was sentenced to life imprisonment. The incident occurred on the morning of 24th April, 1994, during a quarrel between Bhosale and his wife. Bhosale struck Surekha on the head with a grinding stone while she was washing clothes in the bathroom. Surekha was taken to the hospital, where she was declared dead. Bhosale was immediately apprehended by the police.

The Issue

The primary issue before the Supreme Court was the plea of insanity raised by Bhosale. His defense argued that he was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia at the time of the crime, and therefore, should be granted the benefit of the general exception contained in Section 84 IPC. The prosecution, on the other hand, contended that Bhosale killed his wife not due to insanity, but out of extreme anger, which does not qualify as insanity under the law.

Court’s Observations

The court noted that the defense of insanity had not been accepted by the Sessions Court or the High Court. However, the Supreme Court considered the medical evidence presented, which included the testimonies of Dr. Arun (DW2) and Dr. Pramod (DW3), who confirmed that Bhosale was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. The court also noted that Bhosale had been an indoor patient at a government hospital for treatment of this ailment and that he had been suffering from this disease since at least 20th April, 1992.

The court observed that the crucial point of time for ascertaining the state of mind of the accused is the time when the offence was committed. The court found that the unsoundness of mind preceding the occurrence and following the occurrence stood proved. The court also noted that the nature of the burden of proof on the accused is no higher than that which rests upon a party to civil proceedings.

The court concluded that the appellant has proved the existence of circumstances as required by Section 105 of the Evidence Act so as to get the benefit of Section 84 IPC. The court held that there is a reasonable doubt that at the time of commission of the crime, the appellant was incapable of knowing the nature of the act by reason of unsoundness of mind and, thus, he is entitled to the benefit of Section 84 IPC.

Conclusion

The Supreme Court, therefore, set aside the judgment of the High Court and allowed the appeal. The court ordered that Bhosale be set at liberty forthwith, if not required in any other case. The court also expressed its deep appreciation for the assistance rendered by Dr. Shyamla Pappu, who appeared as amicus curie for the appellant.