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Crime & Exceptions: A Study in Relation to Insanity

Authors: Simran Khurana and Rashi Choudhary, Students, Amity Law School, Amity University, Uttar Pradesh, India

Abstract Law, since times immortal, has been used as a means to ensure justice and thus maintain law and order in the society. It has efficiently functioned over the years. However, some exceptions pertaining to our legal system offers an opportunity to a person in default or omission to flee form the sanctions provided under the law-insanity is one such situation where the defaulter/s manages to escape from clutches of law in our society. A criminal defendant who is designated as legally insane may not attach the same punishment, sanction or penalty under our legal system in comparison to a criminal defendant who is not legally insane. Also, there are cases where a legally insane person escapes from severe punishments. Insanity, as defined under Indian Penal Code under section 84 as "Act of a person of unsound mind—Nothing is an offence which is done by a person who, at the time of doing it, by reason of unsoundness of mind, is incapable of knowing the nature of the act, or that he is doing what is either wrong or contrary to law". This section embodies the fundamental maxim of criminal law "Actus non facet reum nisi menus sit rea," i.e. an act does not constitute guilt unless done with guilty intention. In order to constitute a crime, the intended act must be accompanied with a guilty mind; however, in the case of insane persons, no culpability arises on them as they do not have free will. Thus, this research paper seeks to comprehend, analyse and articulate various aspects related to crime and its exceptions with specific reference to insanity as a defence and also to check its abuse.

Keywords: IPC, exceptions, insanity, legal insanity, medical insanity, Mc Naughton's rule.

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