Thought I was Gandhi reborn,convict says in appealhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/thought-i-was-gandhi-reborn-convict-says-in-appeal/

Thought I was Gandhi reborn,convict says in appeal

Convicted 10 years ago,a man had filed a plea claiming that he suffered from a delusion — he believed that he was an incarnation of Mahatma Gandhi — when he committed the crime.

Convicted 10 years ago,a man had filed a plea claiming that he suffered from a delusion — he believed that he was an incarnation of Mahatma Gandhi — when he committed the crime. Raj Ballabh attacked a man walking on the road next to Gandhi’s samadhi at Raj Ghat with a scythe,causing grievous injuries on the victim’s head and nearly severing a finger.

Ballabh had been convicted and sentenced for the offence of attempted murder in 2003. In his plea before the High Court,he had claimed that he should not have been convicted as he was suffering from a delusion at the time. The Delhi High Court dismissed the plea.

“Except the delusion on a particular point that he is incarnation of Mahatma Gandhi,he understands what he is doing and what is happening around him. In cross-examination,he reiterated that except the delusion that he is incarnation of Mahatma Gandhi,he understands each and everything,” noted the High Court bench of Justice Sunita Gupta.

The court noted that Ballabh had been apprehended from the spot while attempting to flee after attacking his victim. The defence lawyers had argued that there was no evidence to suggest that the accused had known the victim,claiming that the attack had been made during a delusional episode. The court,however,noted that the insanity plea had not been mentioned by the accused in the beginning of the trial.

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“A person would escape being classified as a normal person and to be treated insane vis-à-vis the offence only on proof of the cognitive faculties being impaired at the relevant time i.e. at the time the crime was committed,” the High Court said.

The court held that the conduct of the accused did not indicate that he was incapable of distinguishing between right and wrong behaviour since he had attempted to flee when confronted by a bystander and a policeman.

“The attempt of the accused/appellant to escape from the scene of occurrence after arrival of (eyewitness) Sushil Kumar and police officer further throws a flood of light on this aspect of the matter that he was mentally in a fit condition,” the court said.