What is unsound mind?
A lot of times, in legal language we must have heard of the term unsound mind.
One question that always pops in our head is Who is a person of unsound mind?
A person of unsound mind is not a mad or a person suffering with mental disorders. It is just someone who is not a minor & is incapable of managing their own affairs or take rational decisions.
Who is an unsound person as per Indian Law?
- Lunatic: A person who gets fits of madness but is sane during intervals. If a lunatic, acts during his sane intervals, then that act shall not be done by unsound mind and shall be valid.
- Idiots: An idiot is a person who has non-sane memory from his birth and is born mentally deficient or disturbed.
- Mental disorder: A person suffering from any mental illness or incomplete development of mind, or psychopathic disorder or any other disorder or disability of mind or schizophrenia.
- Intoxication: The Indian law treats a drunken person similar to a person of unsound mind. It is believed that a person who is under the influence of alcohol is not in a position to take a decision and form a rational judgement with respect to his own interest and it is assumed that an intoxicated person is capable of taking a decision against their own interest.
How to show that a person is of unsound mind?
For a person to be of unsound mind, it is not necessary to prove that the person is a lunatic or suffering from any mental disease, the only pre-requisite is that the person must be incapable at that time of performing the particular duties or affairs.
Can a person of unsound mind get into a contract?
In India, the contract law deals with rules and regulations with respect to framing and breaking of contracts to ensure uniformity.
As per the Contracts Act, only a person can enter into a contract who is capable of understanding the nature and the consequences, at the time of making the contract.
The person must be able to understand that what he is doing is in his interest or not, also known as the rational judgement. It doesn’t mean that the person must be lunatic or an idiot to not be able to understand as from the exterior appearance, a person must look able to form rational decisions but at the same time, must be incapable of forming a judgement of his own acts.
Thus, as per Indian laws, a person who is at the time of making a contract in unsound mind is not capable of entering into a contract and thus, the agreement shall be void.
Can a person of unsound mind become a witness in a trial?
A witness is basically a person who stands before the court to testify or narrate his perspective on the circumstances of the case. Usually when a witness explains his side of the case, he is then questioned by the lawyers and the court. A person can only become a witness who has the capability to understand, rationalize and then answer the questions asked. In an event, a person is said to be non-competent to testify or of unsound mind, when they are unable to understand the questions asked to them or are unable to give justified, rational answers.
Can a person of unsound mind be punished for committing a crime?
The Penal code provides that a person who commits an act which is punishable or prohibited by law under the influence of unsound mind is not punishable.
On whom does the burden of proof lie?
In every case, it is assumed that the person is of sane mind but when all the facts are put together and evidence of an act done which a reasonable person in his sane mind would not do is shown to the court, then the burden shifts on the person who affirms it. The onus of proving insanity is on the person who alleges it and that person must be able to prove through facts and evidences that the act done was under the influence of unsoundness of the mind. The person doing an act before or after the act in question under unsoundness of mind is immaterial.
How can G.S. Bagga & Associates help you?
Greetings! Situations involving unsound person can get a lot tricky as on surface the person may seem normal but at the same time, must be incapable of forming a judgement of his own acts. In such situations, lawyers play a major role in protecting your interest. The offices of G.S. Bagga & Associates have been experienced in litigation for over 7 years now. If you’ve found the above information satisfying, you can get in touch with us and can book a free consultation. We would love to support you with our legal expertise in the matter. Feel free to contact us, anytime.