After ten years in jail, Leena Nair (30), a schizophrenic, was acquitted of charges of murdering her cousin.
A division bench of Justice Ranjana Desai and Justice V.K. Tahilramani on Tuesday acquitted Nair from the charges expressing that she did not have the knowledge of what she did.
After learning that Nair was lodged at Yerawada Prison in Pune , the high court, last week, had transferred her to an asylum for her rehabilitation. She is lodged at an asylum in Pune.
The court will now have to decide who will look after her.
Nair was arrested for allegedly murdering her 13-year-old cousin Aparna in their Chembur home on March 29, 2000.
During the trial, Nair’s advocates had sought an exemption citing her (Nair’s) mental problem. However, the trial court rejected the exemption observing that the defence (Nair’s advocate) had failed to prove Nair’s problem. In 2002, the trial court sentenced her to life imprisonment. Nair’s advocate challenged her conviction before the high court.
During the hearing, Nair’s advocate pointed out a report dated March 30, 2000, prepared by a psychiatrist from JJ Hospital which said that she (Nair) suffered from paranoid schizophrenia.
The report said Nair suffered from delusions and thought her neighbours were conspiring to make her do “wrong things” by forcing her into prostitution. She told doctors she attacked Aparna because she did not want her to become a sex worker, the report said.
Expressing anguish over the trial court's attitude and imprisonment of Nair, the high court had transferred her to asylum.
Now that she is acquitted, the judges expressed concern over her rehabilitation.
She can’t be kept at prison or at the prison ward of the mental asylum since she is acquitted.
Her aunt may not want to take her back in the house.