The defense of Insanity

Criminal law is a wide field of study that is riddled with issues. Despite a vast literature on various parts of the issues, the subject of criminal responsibility and mental disorder has posed a challenge to jurists, attorneys, and psychiatrists for centuries, and it has remained an unsolved conundrum. For hundreds of years, the insanity defense has served as a defense against criminal charges for defendants who were unable to understand what they were doing or distinguish between right and wrong. Because most defendants in our criminal justice system must have had some knowledge or intent when committing a crime, the insanity defense offers protection to people who are deemed incapable of establishing such mental states.

Originally, most states required the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person was not insane if he or she claimed insanity as a defense. However over the course of time and with help of few modifications the burden of proof is now shifted from the prosecutor to the defense, requiring defense lawyers to prove the defendant’s insanity through clear and compelling evidence.

Even though it was put in place to improve judgment, most people exploit the insanity defense to avoid legal penalties, making it a loophole that encourages more offenders to commit crimes. Such a condition creates a serious problem, as people will become increasingly involved in such crimes since they are not afraid of the law. The Indian government has put in place a number of rules for performing an insanity test on the accused. They must meet two important criteria: the necessity for mental illness and the condition for loss of reasoning. Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) deals with this issue.

Essentials: A person of unsound mind must carry out the act.

Such a person was mentally unstable at the time of the incident.

The accused incapacity should be due to mental illness.

Such person had no idea what he was doing was wrong.

Despite the fact that these strict regulations exist, many people try to exploit this defense by falsifying certifications or influencing the judiciary. To avoid the various controversies and confusions it is suggested that a well-defined definition of the term ‘insanity’ should be established. Many countries, notably Germany, Argentina, and Thailand, have prohibited this defense due to its widespread misuse. India can investigate this and decide whether or not the insanity defense should be recognized in the legal system.

Categories: Education

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