IPC, Section 148/149  - Appellant was already acquitted by the Sessions Judge for commission of offences falling under Section 148/149IPC -  Appellant's acquittal was not challenged by the State by filing any appeal before the High Court - There was no occasion for the High Court to have gone into this question in an appeal filed by the accused (appellant herein) as the same had attained finality – Order of high court High Court dismissing the appeal and further convicting the appellant for commission of offences punishable under Section 148/149 IPC set aside. (2018)2 SCeJ 1558/ DOD 26/10/2018

IPC, Section 148/149 - Five co­accused persons having also been acquitted of the charges framed against them under Section 148/149IPC, no case was made out against the appellant for his conviction under Section 148/149  - Once it was held by the Sessions Judge that all the six accused persons could not be convicted under Section 148/149 and were accordingly acquitted and no appeal having been filed by the State against this part of the order, the High Court was not justified in convicting the appellant under Section 148/149IPC. (2018)2 SCeJ 1558 / / DOD 26/10/2018

IPC, Section 148/149 - Prosecution had named six accused persons as being the members of "unlawful assembly" of which the appellant was one - Not the case of prosecution that even though these six accused persons were acquitted of the charges framed under Section 148/149 IPC, yet there were some more unknown persons present at the time of occurrence with the appellant other than five named accused persons and, therefore, the appellant could still be convicted under Section 148/149 as a member of an unlawful assembly with such unknown persons notwithstanding the acquittal of five accused persons – Conviction set aside. (2018)2 SCeJ 1558 /  DOD 26/10/2018


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IPC  S.  149  -  In cases where a large number of accused constituting an 'unlawful assembly' are alleged to have attacked and killed one or more persons, it is not necessary that each of the accused should inflict fatal injuries or any injury at all - Invocation of Section 149 is essential in such cases for punishing the members of such unlawful assemblies on the ground of vicarious liability even though they are not accused of having inflicted fatal injuries in appropriate cases if the evidence on record justifies - The mere presence of an accused in such an 'unlawful assembly' is sufficient to render him vicariously liable under Section 149 IPC for causing the death of the victim of the attack provided that the accused are told that they have to face a charge rendering them vicariously liable under Section 149 IPC for the offence punishable under Section 302 IPC -  Failure to appropriately invoke and apply Section 149 enables large number of offenders to get away with the crime. Held,  When a large number of people gather together (assemble) and commit an offence, it is possible that only some of the members of the assembly commit the crucial act which renders the transaction an offence and the remaining members do not take part in that 'crucial act' for example in a case of murder, the infliction of the fatal injury. It is in those situations, the legislature thought it fit as a matter of legislative policy to press into service the concept of vicarious liability for the crime.  Section 149 IPC is one such provision. It is a provision conceived in the larger public interest to maintain the tranquility of the society and prevent wrong doers (who actively collaborate or assist the commission of offences) claiming impunity (Editor - Immunity)  on the ground that their activity as members of the unlawful assembly is limited. The responsibility of the prosecution and/or of the Court (in a case like the one at hand where large numbers of people (5 or more) are collectively accused to have committed various offences and subjected to trial) in examining whether some of the members of such group are vicariously liable for some offence committed by some of the other members of such group requires an analysis. Such analysis has two components - (i) the amplitude and the vicarious liability created under Section 149; and (ii) the facts which are required to be proved to hold an accused vicariously liable for an offence. (2018)2 SCeJ 1183

      

IPC  S.  149  -  Unlawful assembly - Common object  -  Explained . Held, the common object of assembly is normally to be gathered from the circumstances of each case such as the time and place of the gathering of the assembly, the conduct of the gathering as distinguished from the conduct of the individual members are indicative of the common object of the gathering. Assessing the common object of an assembly only on the basis of the overt acts committed by such individual members of the assembly, in our opinion is impermissible. For example, if more than five people gather together and attack another person with deadly weapons eventually resulting in the death of the victim, it is wrong to conclude that one or some of the members of such assembly did not share the common object with those who had inflicted the fatal injuries (as proved by medical evidence); merely on the ground that the injuries inflicted by such members are relatively less serious and non fatal.         For mulcting liability on the members of an unlawful assembly under Section 149, it is not necessary that every member of the unlawful assembly should commit the offence in prosecution of the common object of the assembly. Mere knowledge of the likelihood of commission of such an offence by the members of the assembly is sufficient. For example, if five or more members carrying AK 47 rifles collectively attack a victim and cause his death by gunshot injuries, the fact that one or two of the members of the assembly did not in fact fire their weapons does not mean that they did not have the knowledge of the fact that the offence of murder is likely to be committed.   The identification of the common object essentially requires an assessment of the state of mind of the members of the unlawful assembly. Proof of such mental condition is normally established by inferential logic. If a large number of people gather at a public place at the dead of night armed with deadly weapons like axes and fire arms and attack another person or group of persons, any member of the attacking group would have to be a moron in intelligence if he did not know murder would be a likely consequence. (2018)2 SCeJ 1183

 

 

Indian Penal Code, 1860 (XLV of 1860) S. 149 -  Unlawul assembly -  Convinced that the implication of all the five accused was perfectly justified and was supported by legal evidence as was spoken to by the relevant witnesses which was duly corroborated by the medical evidence - Therefore, mere non mentioning of two of the names in the F.I.R cannot be fatal to the case of the prosecution. (2016)3 P.L.R. SC 108

Indian Penal Code, 1860 (XLV of 1860) S. 149 -  Unlawul assembly -  Section 149, at the very outset it refers to participation of each member of an unlawful assembly, it has to be necessarily shown that there was an assembly of five or more persons, which is designated as unlawful assembly under Section 149 I.P.C. - When once, such a participation of five or more persons is shown, who indulge in an offence as a member of such an unlawful assembly, for the purpose of invoking Section 149, it is not necessary that there must be specific overt act played by each of the member of such an unlawful assembly in the commission of an offence -  What is required to be shown is the participation as a member in pursuance of a common object of the assembly or being a member of that assembly, such person knew as to what is likely to be committed in prosecution of any such common object - In the event of the proof of showing of either of the above conduct of a member of an unlawful assembly, the offence, as stipulated in Section 149, will stand proved . (2016)3 P.L.R. SC 108

Indian Penal Code, 1860 (XLV of 1860) S. 149 - Provisions of Section 149 of the IPC are no longer available to the prosecution for convicting the appellants whose number is reduced to 4 consequent upon the acquittal of the remaining accused persons - It is a case which, in our opinion, falls more appropriately in situation three where the prosecution had named all those constituting the unlawful assembly, but, only four of those named were eventually convicted, thereby reducing the number to less than five - There is no evidence to suggest that any one, apart from the persons named in the charge-sheet were members of the unlawful assembly, but, were either not available or remained unidentified - Such being the position, the conviction of the appellants with the help of Section 149 of the IPC does not appear to be legally sustainable. (2016)3 P.L.R. SC 632

Indian Penal Code, 1860 (XLV of 1860) S. 149 - Unlawful assembly -  It is not disputed that the accused persons were present at the site of the incident and were armed with deadly weapons - They had shared the common intention of stopping the deceased from contesting for the elections - These circumstances are indicative of the fact that all the accused persons, at that time, were the members of unlawful assembly because their common object was to threaten and prevent the deceased and other persons from contesting the College elections. (2016)3 P.L.R. SC 588

 

Indian Penal Code, 1860 (XLV of 1860)Section 149  - Common Object  Common Intention to kill  Can arise at the spur of the moment  Even if it is assumed that there was no common object of killing, but only of stopping the deceased and others from contesting the elections -  It cannot be ruled out that the common intention to kill might have arisen on the spur of the moment - The actions of the appellants and the injuries inflicted on the body of the deceased also go to substantiate the same . Held, Indian Penal Code, Section 149  has essentially two ingredients viz. (i) offence committed by any member of an unlawful assembly consisting of five or more members, and (ii) such offence must be committed in prosecution of the common object under Section 141 IPC) of the assembly or members of that assembly knew to be likely to be committed in prosecution of the common object - For common object, it is not necessary that there should be prior concert in the sense of a meeting of the members of the unlawful assembly, the common object may form on the spur of the moment; it is enough if it is adopted by all the members and is shared by all of them -  Ramachandran and Ors. v. State of Kerala, (2011) 9 SCC 257, relied.      (2016)3 P.L.R. SC 588

IPC S. 304 Part II read with Section 149 IPC - Sentence  Quantum - Question of sentence is always a difficult task requiring balancing of various considerations. The question of awarding sentence is a matter of discretion to be exercised on consideration of circumstances aggravating and mitigating in the individual cases. Law courts have been consistent in the approach that a reasonable proportion has to be maintained between the seriousness of the crime and the punishment - While it is true that sentence disproportionately severe should not be passed that does not clothe the court with an option to award the sentence manifestly inadequate - Justice demands that courts should impose punishment befitting the crime so that the courts reflect public abhorrence of the crime - As far as the award of compensation is concerned, particularly in the case of homicidal death, monetary benefits cannot be equated with the life of a person and the societys cry for justice - Object is just to mitigate hardship that is caused to the deceased - Fine amount of Rs.25,000/- imposed on each of the accused is increased to Rs.1,25,000/- each. Held, Considering the facts of the present case as submitted by the learned counsel for the respondents two accused namely Raj and Narender were the students at the time of the incident while Manphool has crossed the age of 72 years. The occurrence was in the year 1993 and more than 22 years have elapsed from the date of the incident. For the conviction under Section 304 Part II IPC read with Section 149 IPC reduction of sentence from seven years to the period already undergone, though, appears to be inadequate, at this distant point of time, we are not inclined to interfere with the exercise of discretion by the High Court in reducing the sentence of imprisonment from seven years to the period already undergone by each of the accused. As far as the award of compensation is concerned, particularly in the case of homicidal death, monetary benefits cannot be equated with the life of a person and the societys cry for justice. Object is just to mitigate hardship that is caused to the deceased. Fine amount of Rs.25,000/- imposed on each of the accused is increased to Rs.1,25,000/- each. (2016)3 PLRSC 909

IPC, Sections 302/149  - Deceased in dying declaration has given a general and omnibus statement about the assault upon the deceased and himself by the accused which is not supported by medical evidence – Accused was having a twelve bore gun and the other 8 accused were armed with lathis - However, doctor's report shows that deceased had sustained only one injury on the left thigh caused by accused No.1 - Neither the deceased nor injured  had any injury caused by sharp edged weapon - Not pointed out as to which accused did cause injuries to him - His general statement regarding participation of all the accused with different weapons and causing injury to the deceased as well as to himself is not duly corroborated by medical evidence and autopsy surgeon  - In the dying declaration the deceased has deposed that except VP he was not knowing as to who had assaulted him but in the same breath he has stated that he was assaulted by lathi by C and L  - However, his version is not corroborated by medical evidence as he did not suffer even a single scratch on his body except fire arm injury  - Not guilty of offence under S. 302.  (2018-2) SUPREME COURT E@JOURNAL 1273