The Bombay High Court observed on Thursday that what needs to be considered is not whether the convict was undergoing treatment for insanity but what was his mental status at the time when he committed the alleged offence.
The observation came while hearing the death confirmation petition of bus driver Santosh Mane, state transport bus driver, who mowed down nine persons and injured 37 others in 2012.
Sessions court at Pun had sentenced Mane to death in December 2013. Mane has filed appeal against his conviction. The state government has also filed petition seeking confirmation of Mane's death sentence as required by law.
Mane has challenged his sentence claiming that he was suffering from mental illness and was undergoing treatment for the same.
Defence advocate, Jagdish Mane, told the court that while the prosecution claims that the motive behind the convict going on a rampage was over his duty hours the defence case was of insanity. "There is medical evidence to show that Mane was undergoing treatment," he said.
To this, justice Achiliya said: "The fact that he was undergoing treatment is not of paramount importance. At the relevant time what was his mental condition is what is of paramount concern. What was his position at the time of the incident is what needs to be seen."
On January 25, 2012, Mane hijacked an empty state transport bus from the Swargate depot in Pune and sped off on the wrong side of the road catching oncoming traffic and people unawares.
Mane rode for about 25 kms during which he rammed into moving and stationary vehicles and pedestrians. He was later nabbed by the police.
A division bench of justices NH Patil and Achiliya has kept the matter for hearing on March 12.