Certificate of unsound mind post incident insufficient, says Bombay HC

The Bombay High Court recently rejected a plea filed by a 27-year-old architect and south Mumbai resident Karan Pradeep Nair, seeking to quash proceedings in connection to an FIR lodged against him by the L T Marg police station for attacking and injuring police personnel last year during lockdown.

Last May, policeman Jitendra Kadam, on patrol duty near Mafatlal Bath junction, had tried to stop Nair as he was carrying a chopper and not wearing mask as per Covid-19 protocol. Nair, however, had attacked him and two other policemen, injuring them.

Advocate Rizwan Merchant, appearing for Nair, claimed that his client was not in a proper frame of mind when the incident occurred and had no intention of attacking the policemen and therefore, should not be made to undergo trial for attempt to murder and other offences.

A division bench of Justice S S Shinde and Justice N J Jamadar passed the order on October 6 in connection with the FIR registered on May 9, 2020 on charges, including attempt to murder, assault and stopping a public servant from performing duty and negligent act likely to spread infection of disease of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as well as the Arms Act and the Maharashtra Police Act.

The HC observed that the claim of having an unsound mind could not be accepted. It said that the mental health evaluation certificate that Nair received from a psychiatrist after he was released on bail was prepared based on facts and incidents narrated by his mother.

“It is not the claim of the petitioner that he had been undergoing treatment for the ailment since prior to the occurrence. Thus, at this juncture, there is no material which would shed light on the circumstances that preceded the occurrence or the state of mind of the petitioner proximate to the time of occurrence,” the court said.

“It would suffice to note that a prosecution cannot be quashed on the ground that an accused is incapable to defend himself on account of unsoundness of mind,” it added.

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