Insanity Defense

The insanity defense is a legal term, not a clinical (medical) term. This means that suffering from a mental disorder is not enough to prove insanity. Defendants have the burden of proof to defend insanity through a “preponderance of evidence” similar to a civil trial.

Insanity Defense
Insanity Defense

In order to assert an insanity defense, the defendant must state clearly that he was infirm or suffering from insanity at the time of the crime. At the time of the crime, he did not know the nature of the crime. At the time of the crime, the accused did not know what he had done wrong.

The “cause of madness” is a full defense of the crime, i.e., defending the “cause of madness” is equivalent to defending “innocence,” whereas the “incompetence” simply makes the crime lighter. Defense reduction can be used to negate the element of intent to commit a crime.

The law of madness as a defense has existed for centuries. However, it has acquired legal status in the last three centuries. The history of Madness Law can be traced back to the 18th century. The first case dealing with the Law of Madness was R v. Arnold (1724), in which Edward Arnold was put on trial for attempting to kill and even wound Lord Onslow. The evidence clearly indicated that the defendant suffered from a mental disorder.


 The concept of responsibility is related to our most basic beliefs about human nature and dignity, and to everyday experiences of guilt and innocence, guilt and punishment. Punishing those who are not responsible for their crimes is a violation of basic human rights and fundamental rights under the Indian constitution. It also leads to due process when the person is unable to defend himself in court and exercise the principles of natural justice.


The affirmative defense of judicial insanity defense rests on this basic principle, apologizing to mentally disturbed offenders whose mental illness has deprived them of a rational understanding of their behavior in crime  Therefore, it is generally accepted that an individual can go unpunished if he or she is unable to commit a crime. This is allowed by the laws of most civilized countries.


British criminal law regards insanity as an effective criminal defense. The basic definition of madness is based on the M’Naghten rule. These rules are not about insane medical definitions. 

In the case of M’Naghten, the judge declared the following insanity principle:

All are considered sane and have reasonable grounds to be held responsible for the crime until proven otherwise.

In order to establish a statement of insanity, it is necessary to finally prove that the defendant suffered from a lack of common sense due to mental illness such as mental illness at the time of the crime.

Didn’t know the nature and characteristics of the deeds the defendant was doing? He didn’t know what he was doing was wrong.


Therefore, the defendant suffered a lack of reason caused by insanity to claim insanity, either because he was unaware of the nature and quality of his conduct, or because he was unaware that his actions were wrong.  

This article has attempted to analyze Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with the defense of mental illness.

in criminal law. The word “madness” doesn’t have a clear definition, but generally refers to things that change the degree of mental impairment. In section 84 the word “mental weakness” is used instead of “madness”. This section is mainly based on the famous rules of his M’Naghten developed by an Englishman.

In order to give the defendant the benefits of section 84, it must be proved that the defendant was present at the time the crime was committed.

His cognitive abilities were severely impaired and he was unable to discern the nature of his behavior. Section 84 has been subject to a number of interpretations in various court decisions that shed important light on the various words used in this section. This article describes those jurisdictions.

In Section 84, the term used is “mentally insane” and not “insane. “Crazy” has a broader meaning than the word “crazy”. Delirium of any kind is an unhealthy Spirit, but the same doesn’t have to be crazy all the time. However, the term “mental defect” is not defined in IPC. However, it corresponds to the old legal term “non-compos mentis” and includes the following categories:

A person – a fool, a sick and incompetent person, a madman or a madman, or a drunkard.

Supreme Court 

Modern criminal law is based on the belief that a human being is morally responsible and not a harmful agent. To be held criminally responsible, beyond a reasonable doubt, he must: elements must be demonstrated.

Psychiatrists may be called upon to assist courts in determining whether a particular mental disorder interferes with a person’s ability to form the intentions necessary to legally convict that person. I have.

Appeals can be Abused

The first is the miscarriage of justice that actually happened. The second is the real danger of putting a stubborn, sane criminal in a mental institution. Security measures are likely to be inadequate and may pose a threat to those who truly suffer from psychosis.

The mental illness defense is based on the mental state of the defendant at the time the crime was committed, not at the time of trial. The criteria for this defense are very difficult to meet, as many conditions must be met for an insanity defense to be successful. The defense has the burden of proving insanity.

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