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National News

Apr 18, 2019
8:33PM

Mental illness of death row convicts ground to spare them from gallows: SC

File Pic: PTI
The Supreme Court today said, mental illness of people on death row, if developed post conviction, would now be a mitigating factor for appellate courts for sparing them from the gallows. 

A three-judge bench, headed by Justice NV Ramana, said the assessment of such disability should be conducted by a multi­disciplinary team of qualified professionals, including professional with expertise in accused person's particular mental illness.

To prevent misuse of the directions, the top court said the burden would be on the accused to prove by a preponderance of clear evidence that he is suffering with severe mental illness. 

The court said that the state government would be at liberty to offer evidence to rebut such claim.   

To understand the phenomenon of post-conviction mental illness, the bench took note of the reports of the World Health Organisation and the International Red Cross. 

An accused could till now take the plea of legal insanity under the Indian Penal Code to avoid criminal prosecution and the defence was made relatable to the moment when the crime is committed.

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