November 30, 2023
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The most widely accepted jurisprudential principle is “Ignorance of law is no excuse,” which states that all citizens are expected to be aware of the laws of their country. The Law and psychiatry both studies how individuals act but from distinct angles. Law deals with controlling human behaviour, whereas psychiatry studies human behaviour.

It is crucial to realize that penalizing all offenders will not advance society’s objectives. Understanding the offender’s personality disorder is just as essential for reducing crime rates as comprehending the motive behind the crime. If you want to change someone from a perpetrator to a victim, this is critical to comprehend the difference between accountability and justification.

Psychopaths Legal Definition

  • According to Psychopaths Legal definition, a psychopath is an individual with a mental illness who acts cruelly and has no regard for other people. They frequently act violently or in violation of the law, yet they never feel guilty about it. Additionally, they struggle to build lasting, significant connections with other people.
  • In court, psychopaths receive the same treatment as normal criminals. However, they are only eligible for mental health treatment if their sentence takes it into account. In criminal law, it is crucial to demonstrate that the offender intended to commit the offense and was acting with guilt.

Psychopathic Laws in India

There exist various psychopathic laws in India. They are:

  • “Unsoundness of mind” is recognized as a defense under Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code.
  • Section 328 of the Criminal Procedure Code addresses situations in which the subject of the investigation is mentally unstable and thus unable to present a defense.
  • Despite the fact that insanity is a defense, very few accused people are admitted to mental health facilities or rehabilitation centres. Furthermore, people who are committed to mental health facilities are frequently mistreated and neglected.
  • Under the Mental Health Act (2017), psychopathy is a condition in which the perpetrator lacks essential human emotion, it may also be considered as a disorder that hinders the ability to function in daily life. Furthermore, current studies have demonstrated that emotion is fundamentally a potent motivator for moral behaviour.

Why Is Punishment Not a Better Option for Psychopaths?

  • Since psychopaths are unable to harbour regret or gain insight into their mistakes, treatments that concentrate on comprehending and controlling their specific traits have a greater chance of success.
  • In contrast to punishing strategies, options for treatment that prioritize cognitive-behavioural therapy in conjunction with an encouraging atmosphere try to deal with the root causes and foster prosocial behaviour. This method is more subtle and ultimately productive.

Why Do Psychopaths Need to Be Treated Rather Than Punished?

  • Punishments usually take place with the intention of frightening the offender and deterring future wrongdoing. However, things become more difficult when the offender isn’t fearful of the penalty. Psychopaths usually lack fear and don’t give a damn about the consequences of their behaviour.
  • They are unable to comprehend the crime they have committed because their mental illness prevents them from acting on their terrible intentions. They consider acts of violence and cruelty to be natural and morally justified. Therefore providing treatment rather than punishing brings justice for psychopaths.

Psychopaths Cases in India

There are various psychopaths cases in India. They are:

  • In the case of Raman Raghav, it represents one of the greatest well-known cases of psychopathy in India, a psychotic killer named Raman Raghav was roaming in Mumbai. Following his incarceration, Raman Raghav had been diagnosed with severe schizophrenia. Since it was determined that he suffered from an incurable mental illness, his term of imprisonment was scaled down to life in prison.
  • In the case of Nithari, the case involved the horrific murder of numerous children and the occasional eating of their flesh. Although the criminal’s behaviour appeared to be somewhat weird, it can be difficult to determine whether they are suffering from a psychological disorder or are acting as a result of a mental illness. Reports state that the court noted that the case qualifies as the “rarest of the rare.” A CBI court found Surinder Koli, the accused guilty and gave him the death penalty.

Nobody is born with psychopathy.  Some people may grow up in families with strong morals and a stable atmosphere, while others may grow up in chaotic situations. Children raised in stressful situations tend to become callous and unemotional, lacking empathy and guilt, and having superficial emotions.

It is only via therapy that such persons could receive justice, not harsher punishment, as psychopaths are inherently fearful of punishment and patients should always receive treatment rather than punishment. Since psychopathy is still, regrettably, a neglected topic in our legal system, it is necessary that a comprehensive understanding of it be ingrained in it.  

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