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Shaniwar peth double murder: Domestic dispute, alcohol addiction no defence, say Pune legal experts

However, if doctors find him mentally unsound on any other grounds, his defence may get a boost, the experts added.

pune Updated: Dec 08, 2017 15:05 IST
Shalaka Shinde
Shalaka Shinde
Hindustan Times, Pune
shaniwar peth double murder,twin murder,pune
Parag Kshirsagar, 29, is a diploma-holder in mechanical engineering.(HT Photo)

Domestic dispute and alcohol addiction cannot be a strong defence in a court of law for Parag Kshirsagar, 29, who was arrested for allegedly murdering his parents and attempting to commit suicide afterwards, legal experts told HT.

However, if doctors find him mentally unsound on any other grounds, his defence may get a boost, the experts added.

Kshirsagar stabbed his father in the neck and strangled his mother with a nylon rope before slashing his own wrist in an attempted suicide when the police reached the scene of the crime, his house in Shaniwar peth, on Wednesday.

The diploma-holder in mechanical engineering is now undergoing treatment for injuries caused during the suicide attempt and will also undergo a medical examination at the Sassoon General hospital.

Based on the evaluation of his mental condition by doctors at Sassoon hospital, the police will decide whether to update his charges or not.

“Anything done under the influence of mental disability cannot be termed as offence. That can be his defence. Based on what mental illness the person has, he cannot be considered as a seasoned criminal,” said advocate Asim Sarode.

Kshirsagar was visiting a psychiatrist since the past year-and-a-half, according to police. However, whether he was visiting the psychiatrist for his addiction to alcohol or did he suffer from a mental illness, may be pivotal to the case. As Sarode points out,“We all know that alcohol is a bad influence. Addiction to alcohol cannot be considered a defence.”

“Domestic dispute and alcohol addiction, even if proved, cannot be considered a good enough defence as it cannot really prove unsound mind. Even if he committed the murder under the influence of alcohol, it cannot possibly make any difference in his case,” said advocate Milind Pawar, a top criminal lawyer from Pune.

According to Section 115(1) of the new Mental Healthcare Act, 2017, “Notwithstanding anything contained in section 309 of the Indian Penal Code any person who attempts to commit suicide shall be presumed, unless proved otherwise, to have severe stress and shall not be tried and punished under the said code." The earlier version of Section 309 of IPC criminalised attempted suicide.

However, Pawar said that the main section in his case remains to be 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for murder.“The attempted murder will be a separate case all together. The main offence remains to be that of murder,” he added.

In a similar case, a bus driver, Santosh Mane, had run over and killed nine people and injured 37 others, on January 25, 2012. He was proved to be under mental stress, however, a local court in Pune sentenced him to death and the decision was upheld by the Bombay high court. The Supreme Court, on April 2015, put a stay on the local court’s decision on grounds of his mental condition.

Shaniwar Peth double murder suspect undergoes psych evaluation

Parag Kashirsagar, 29, arrested for allegedly murdering his parents, underwent psychiatric evaluation by the doctors at Sassoon General Hospital on Thursday afternoon. Kshirsagar is in police custody for the murder of his parents at their residence in Shaniwar Peth near Suyog marriage hall.

According to hospital authorities, Kashirsagar had to be tied to his bed in the surgery ward of the public hospital as he was behaving violently and abusing people in the ward. He was sedated for the most part of Thursday until a team of doctors from the psychiatric ward evaluated him, according to a police source.

When asked about his mental state, Dr Nitin Abhivant of Sassoon General Hospital psychiatric ward said, “It is too premature to comment on his overall mental condition. We are observing him right now. We need court orders for further tests as this may fall under the Mental Healthcare Act. We have submitted our whatever we found in the examination to the police. It is up to them to decide what to do with it. There are a lot of legal and technical complexities in this matter.”

A mechanical engineer who spent a couple of years working in Muscat, Oman, Parag had a long standing trouble with his father, according to his relatives. The police also claim that he had trouble with alcohol and was possibly addicted. He also visited a psychiatrist and was seeking treatment for the last year and a half, according to his initial statement to the police.

A case under Section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was registered against Parag Kshirsagar at Vishrambaug police station on Wednesday. However, since he slashed his wrist in an attempted suicide when the police arrived, the charges may be updated since based on his mental condition.

According to Section 115(1) of the new Mental Healthcare Act, 2017, “”notwithstanding anything contained in Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code any person who attempts to commit suicide shall be presumed, unless proved otherwise, to have severe stress and shall not be tried and punished under the said Code.” The earlier version of Section 309 of the IPC criminalised attempted suicide.

First Published: Dec 08, 2017 15:04 IST