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Aishwarya Shankar

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Crimes are an inherent part of our society. In 2023, 445.9 crimes were reported per 100,000 people in India. With these statistics, it is safe to say that criminality is an essential component of how society is built and shaped. Individuals who are involved in these crimes are eventually presented before the law – at this point, the core concept of criminal responsibility comes to the forefront. Criminal Responsibility is when a person commits a criminal offence with intention, recklessness, or negligence. Insanity is a common defence to criminal responsibility, as individuals diagnosed with mental illness cannot be held responsible for their actions, considering their mental state acts as a barrier preventing them from understanding the nature of their crime and the law in place. Insanity is defined to be a severely distorted state of mind occurring because of a particular disorder. This concept is commonly referred to as ‘insanity defense.’ The foundation for the concept of insanity defense arises from the principle: “Actus Non Facit Reum Nisi Mens Sit Rea.” This translates to the concept that an act does not make the accused liable without a guilty mind. Having this system in place allows for an individualized approach to justice. It recognizes that every individual who has committed a crime may not have the same mental capacity, therefore as a result, it enables a personalized assessment of responsibility based on the mental state of the individual at the time of the crime. However, it has been used as a loophole by most criminals to reduce their responsibility associated with the crime. This makes it important to understand the foundation of the defense and evaluate the ways in which it can be improved to allow for a more just society.


Insanity Defence

Indian Penal Code

Criminal Law

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