|Justice N.V. Ramana (L), Justice Mohan M Shantanagoudar (C), Justice Indira Banerjee (R)|
"Considering that India has taken an obligation at an international forum to not punish mental patients with cruel and unusual punishments, it would be necessary for this Court to provide for a test wherein only extreme cases of convicts being mentally ill are not executed. Moreover, this Court cautions against utilization of this dicta as a ruse to escape the gallows by pleading such defense even if such aliment is not of grave severity."
- That the post-conviction severe mental illness will be a mitigating factor that the appellate Court, in appropriate cases, needs to consider while sentencing an accused to death penalty.
- The assessment of such disability should be conducted by a multi-disciplinary team of qualified professionals (experienced medical practitioners, criminologists etc), including professional with expertise in accused's particular mental illness.
- The burden is on the accused to prove by a preponderance of clear evidence that he is suffering with severe mental illness.
- The accused has to demonstrate active, residual or prodromal symptoms that the severe mental disability was manifesting.
- The State may offer evidence to rebut such claim. Court in appropriate cases could setup a panel to submit an expert report.
- Test of severity' envisaged herein predicates that the offender needs to have a severe mental illness or disability, which simply means that objectively the illness needs to be most serious that the accused cannot understand or comprehend the nature and purpose behind the imposition of such punishment.