Insanity Defense in Criminal Law in India: A Critical Analysis

  • Ali Ajmal University Law College, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan
  • Farooq Umair Niazi University Law College, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan
  • Faiza Rasool Institute of Applied Psychology, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan
Keywords: crime, defense, expert, Indian law, insanity


Abstract Views: 0

Criminal law in India does not hold persons suffering from legal insanity as guilty of the crimes committed by them. The state of India adopted the concept of legal insanity and incorporated it in section 84 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). An accused cannot be held liable for his offense if such an accused, at the time of the commission of an offense, was incapable of understanding the nature of the act and/or the concept of right and wrong. However, not every person who has a mental disorder would, ipso facto, be absolved of criminal liability. Instead, one must prove his legal insanity by the standard of evidence of the preponderance of probabilities. The burden of proof of insanity in an insanity plea is on the accused. Moreover, not every kind of medical insanity can be considered as legal insanity. There are certain criteria of legal insanity which an accused must meet to avail the defense of insanity. The scope of insanity defense under section 84 of IPC is limited only to the mental state of the accused at the time of the commission of an offense. Whereas, the mental state of the accused at the time of the trial and during incarceration is out of the scope of section 84 of the IPC, 1860. The opinion of the medical board in determining the legal insanity of the accused is sine qua non. This paper analyzes the law on insanity defense in India by adopting the doctrinal legal analysis approach. The findings have implications for lawyers, judges, jurists, psychiatrists, psychologists, and other stakeholders.


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How to Cite
Ajmal, A., Niazi, F. U., & Rasool , F. (2023). Insanity Defense in Criminal Law in India: A Critical Analysis. Law and Policy Review, 2(2), 58-69. Retrieved from