Volume 2 Issue 7

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Supreme Court explain 'Unlawful Assembly� under section 149 of the IPC

Date of News: 


Date of Publication: 


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Name of the Author: 

Tiasha Sinha Ray

Field of Law: 

Criminal Law

Content of News:

The Supreme Court observed that conviction under section 149 of the Indian Penal Code is unsustainable when co accused are acquitted, the number of members of the alleged 'unlawful assembly' is less than 5 and there are no unknown accused remains in the case. A bench of justices Ajay Rastogi and AS Oka was considering a criminal appeal against the order of the Madhya Pradesh High Court where the high court had convicted the appellants under section 325 r/w section 149 of IPC and upheld its sentence of one year RI and a fine of Rs. 500/- and one month imprisonment for non-payment. Counsel for the appellants submitted that the charge sheet was originally filed against 20 persons and all of them faced trial and the court acquitted 17 of the 20 accused persons by order dated November 12, 2008. It also argued that 3 of the 20 accused were convicted of offenses under sections 148, 325/149 and 323/149 of the IPC and that it was not the case for the prosecution there were other unidentified persons who could not be identified other than the persons who faced trial. In order to claim that the conviction was not sustainable under the law, the prosecutor submitted, citing section 149 of the IPC, that 3 of the 20 accused in the immediate case had been convicted and that the prerequisite for an unlawful assembly was to be five or more persons, as considered under section 141 IPC. In granting the appeal, the bench also laid down the provisions of section 149 of the IPC and said, "it is an essential condition of an unlawful assembly that its membership must be five or more."