Tuesday, May 28, 2024

𝗝𝘂𝗱𝗶𝗰𝗶𝗮𝗹𝗗𝗿𝗲𝗮𝗺™

𝙰𝙵𝙵𝙾𝚁𝙳𝙰𝙱𝙻𝙴 & 𝙰𝙲𝙲𝙴𝚂𝚂𝙸𝙱𝙻𝙴

IPCMODEL ANSWER

UNLAWFUL ASSEMBLY

What is an “Unlawful Assembly”? When is a member of an unlawful assembly constructively liable for the offence committed by any other member of that assembly? Can less than five persons be convicted with the aid of section 149?

The most celebrated Article of Indian Constitution i.e., article 19 provides a very significant fundamental right i.e., right to assemble. According to this article every citizen of this country has right to assemble and people can assemble at any time at any place. But this right is restricted to the legal assembly only. If persons assemble to commit an offence, then in such a case, they cannot conceal their offence in the shadow of this article and they all will be held liable for their offences.

Section 141 to 149 of Indian Penal Code,1860, deals with the provisions of unlawful assembly. According to section 141 of Indian Penal Code, 1860, if five or more than five persons assemble with an object to commit an offence then in such a case their assembly will be considered unlawful assembly and they all will be held liable for constituting an unlawful assembly.

In the leading case of Babulal v. State of Maharashtra (SC 1961), the Hon’ble court held that, “To hold public meeting and to take out public procession vests under Article 19(1)(b) of Indian Constitution. But if the object of that meeting is to do unlawful act and that act will cause public disorder then people will be held liable for constituting an unlawful assembly.

According to the provisions of Indian Penal Code, 1860, it is not necessary that the assembly must be unlawful from the very beginning. If it is lawful initially but after the constitution of an assembly, the members of that assembly decide to commit an offence then in such a case, that assembly is converted into unlawful assembly.

In the leading case of Moti Das v. State of Bihar (SC 1954), the Hon’ble court held that if the members of a lawful assembly decide to commit an offence, then that lawful assembly becomes an unlawful assembly.
The concept of Unlawful Assembly is based upon the principle of constructive liability and section 149 of Indian Penal Code, 1860, deals with this principle. According to section 149 of Indian Penal Code, 1860, if five or more persons assemble together with a common object to commit an offence and any of the member of that assembly commits that offence in prosecution of common object or commits any other offence which the members of that assembly knew that such offence may be committed in prosecution of a common object, then in such a case, all the members of that assembly will be held liable for having committed abovesaid offence. They cannot take a plea that such offence has been committed by another member of the assembly and they have not committed any offence. All the members of an unlawful assembly will be held liable and it will be considered that they all have committed that offence.

In the leading case of Waman v. State of Maharashtra (SC 2011), the Hon’ble court held that in order to attract section 149 of Indian Penal Code, 1860, it must be shown that the incriminating act was done to accomplish the common object of an unlawful assembly. It must be within the knowledge of the other members as one likely to be committed in prosecution of common object. If members of the assembly knew or were aware of the likelihood of a particular offence being committed in prosecution of a common object, they would be liable for the same under section 149.

According to the provisions of Indian Penal Code, 1860, section 149 or any other section which deals with the provisions of Unlawful assembly can be invoked only if there are five or more than five persons. If there are less than five persons then the assembly of that persons will not be considered as an unlawful assembly. But if five or more persons assemble together and commit an offence in prosecution of their common object but the prosecution fails to identify any of the members of that unlawful assembly due to some technical reasons then in such a case, rest of the members even less than five in numbers will be held liable.

In the leading case of Dharampal Singh v. State of U.P. (SC 1976), the Hon’ble court held that if five persons named as members of an unlawful assembly and out of them one or more acquitted then rest of the members cannot be held liable.

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