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Plea for Mitigating Circumstances should be raised during the Trial itself

The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Mohd. Anwar V. The State, N.C.T of Delhi [Criminal appeal No. 1551 of 2010], held that any plea for unsoundness of mind under section 84 of IPC or mitigating circumstances like juvenility of age, ordinarily ought to be raised during trial itself.

 

The Apex Court while relying on TN Lakshnaiah V. State of Karnataka [2002 1 SCC 219-para 9] observed that the production of an OPD card and statement of mother on an affidavit has little evidentiary value and in order to make a successful defence of mental unsoundness u/s 84 IPC, the accused should show preponderance of probabilities that he suffered from a serious enough mental disease or infirmity which would affect the individual’s ability to distinguish right from wrong, in addition to this it should also be established that the accused was afflicted by such disability at the time of crime and if it was not due to the impairment the crime would not have occurred.

 

It was further observed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India that “At the outset, it must be highlighted that appellate Courts ought not to routinely re-appreciate the evidence in a criminal case. This is not only for reasons of procedure, expediency, or finality; but because the trial Court is best placed to holistically appreciate the demeanour of a witness and other evidence on record. Given the concurrent finding of the Courts below on key aspects of the robbery, we do not find it a fit case for such re-appraisal of evidence.”

 

The Apex Court held that “Pleas of unsoundness of mind under Section 84 of IPC or mitigating circumstances like juvenility of age, ordinarily ought to be raised during trial itself. Belated claims not only prevent proper production and appreciation of evidence, but they also undermine the genuineness of the defence’s case.”

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