HC acquits mentally ill man after police fail to get him screened after murder

Mumbai: HC acquits mentally ill man after police fail to get him examined after murder | Representative picture

The Bombay High Court recently acquitted Ajay Pandit of insanity, observing that the police did not send him for psychological evaluation despite being told of his mental state by eyewitnesses.

A divisional bench consisting of judges Ajey Gadkari and Milind Jadhav acquitted Pandit: “This omission on the part of the IO creates a very serious infirmity in the prosecution case and the benefit of the doubt must therefore be given to the prosecution. calling (Pandit).”

The HC was hearing an appeal filed by Pandit against the March 2015 order of the Pune Sessions Court, finding him guilty of murder and sentencing him to life in prison.

According to the prosecution, Pandit struck a pedestrian with an iron bar on September 3, 2011 in Pune, resulting in the death of the pedestrian. Two people restrained Pandit while a third person called the police.

When the police arrived at the scene, they were informed that Pandit was suffering from a mental disorder. However, he was arrested without being sent for a mental evaluation.

“In this context, it was the duty of the Police Officer/IO to immediately subject the Appellant to medical treatment which we consider to be insufficient and which has not been provided by the Prosecution in the present case”, said observed HC.

It was only after the start of the trial in the Pune Court of Sessions and the questioning of six witnesses that Pandit, in October 2015, filed a request for a psychiatric assessment report.

On November 21, 2014, a report was submitted by the Department of Psychiatry at BJG Medical College and General Hospital, Sassoon, Pune, stating that Pandit’s mental state examination showed that he was ” conscious, well oriented towards time, place and person” and his thought. did not reveal “psychotic, mood or anxiety features”. “No active psychopathology at present,” the report concludes.

However, the court said: “It should be noted that the date of the incident is 03.09.2011 while the date of the psychiatric report is 21.11.2014, i.e. more than 3 years after the date of incident.”

Police also recovered a discharge card from Pandit which showed that he was admitted to Yerawada Regional Psychiatric Hospital on 16.02.2010 and discharged on 01.05.2010 when he felt better, Nasreen Ayubi argued. , Pandit’s attorney.

This discharge card was not marked as evidence and was not proven by the prosecution.

The court noted that there was no doubt that the prosecution had proven that Pandit had inflicted fatal blows on the deceased, but that it could not be excluded that he “suffered from mental disorder/mental disorder on the date of the commission of this crime”.

The HC ordered Pandit to be released from jail and given a medical examination at Sassoon General Hospital, Pune. If the report certifies that he is normal, he should be released immediately.

However, if the report certifies that there is a problem with his mental state, then he will be referred and treated at Pune Mental Asylum/Psychiatric Hospital for his illness by the prison authorities and released once his treatment is completed, a declared HC while acquitting murder charges.

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