Sunday 18 January 2015

Supreme court; Insanity no ground for release of murder convict

Insanity cannot be the ground to seek the release of a murderer from jail as he may claim more victims, the Supreme Court has observed. Such a person should rather be kept in a mental hospital.

Dealing with the bail plea of a murder convict from Tamil Nadu on the grounds of unsoundness of mind, a bench presided over by Justice T S Thakur said: “Insanity could not be the sole ground for release. Who will take care of him? He committed the murder when he was insane, he is still insane and if he will be released, then he may commit another murder.”

M Shanthi, mother of life term convict Ramesh Babu, approached the apex court urging the court to release him saying that his mental condition was not good and he had suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. Her counsel relied upon Section 335 of the Prisoners Act which mandated for keeping such a person in safe custody, in view of the pending appeal filed in the murder case against the life term upheld by the Madras High Court in September 2009.

“We may acquit him (in future) but he should be kept in mental hospital. How can he be released? Who will take care of him. His mother is an old woman, somebody has to take care of him,” the bench said.

On insistence by the mother’s counsel for bail, the court, however, asked the Tamil Nadu police to file their response to the application within four weeks. Convict Ramesh Babu, a mechanical engineer, had chopped a man to death in a church situated in St Thomas Mount in Chennai on November 26, 2006.

According to his mother, Ramesh, who studied mechanical engineering at Anna University and got employment after a campus interview at Tamil Nadu Petrochemicals Limited, Manali, developed some mental problem after 10 years of working. He had also gone to Paris for employment. However, suddenly, he declared that he is “Kalki Bhagavan” and would not go to work. 
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