December 15, 2023
A statue of Lady Justice

It is frequently the case that more is better, particularly when it comes to unlawful assembly. Whether it’s the horrific COVID period or the current violence in Manipur, not every large gathering is a party!

In the modern world, the subject of unlawful assembly is quite important. These days, people are more outspoken and confident in expressing their thoughts and beliefs because they understand the strength and power of unity. However, the distinction between a lawful and unlawful assembly becomes hazy when people get together to demonstrate or defend their rights. These protests frequently degenerate into violent altercations.

unlawful assembly in ipc

  • As per unlawful assembly ipc, it is an assembly that has the potential to get out of control and harm people, things, or public order. “Unlawful assembly” is the term used to describe such a disorderly gathering.
  • The main justification for making unauthorized assembly illegal is to uphold public order and peace. Through the provision of vicarious culpability, the Penal Code aims to discourage individuals from committing crimes in groups. This is a violation of the peace in public.

unlawful assembly examples

  • “A” decided to demonstrate against the government’s plan to outlaw alcohol with four of his friends. If people are demonstrating, sitting in silence, and expressing their disapproval, then it is not an illegal assembly.
  • Let’s say they choose to demolish public property in order to threaten the government with making the decision. If so, the Indian Penal Code will apply to all five of them as they are involved in an unlawful assembly and may face penalties.
  • According to unlawful assembly ipc 149, each member of an unauthorized assembly that shares an object will be held accountable for the offense if it is committed with the intention of prosecuting that object.

section 141 of ipc explanation

The IPC defines unlawful assembly in section 141. The provision states that any assembly is illegal if its main goal is to:

  • Use criminal force to overthrow any public worker, the legislature (both federal and state), or the government (federal and state) in the exercise of their legitimate authority.
  • Oppose or resist the law’s or any legal process’s application.
  • Engage in mischief, unlawful trespassing, or any other transgression.
  • Use criminal force to take ownership of any property or deny someone their inherent rights.
  • To coerce someone into carrying out a crime or other prohibited behavior.

However, five or more people must be present in the gathering and they must be in possession of a common object in order for it to be considered an unlawful assembly. This implies that everyone present at the assembly needs to be aware of why it was called for. Any individual is not automatically considered a member of the unlawful assembly just by virtue of their attendance.

section 141 ipc punishment

  • Section 143 of the IPC outlines the penalty under IPC Section 141. The penalty may consist of a fine, an additional six months of incarceration, or even both.
  • Section 141 IPC offenses are considered cognizable, meaning they can be tried by a first-class magistrate within the court’s jurisdiction.

unlawful assembly ipc: Case Laws

  • In the case of Dharam Pal Singh v State of Uttar Pradesh, the Supreme Court of India ruled that in cases where only five named individuals have been accused of forming an unlawful assembly and one or more of them were deemed not guilty, the remaining accused (less than five) cannot be found guilty of being members of the unlawful assembly unless it can be proven that, in addition to the individuals found guilty, the unlawful assembly included other individuals who were not identified or could not be named.
  • In the State of U.P v Sughar Singh case, five suspects were lying in a bush on either side of a lane, each holding a rifle. Accused 4 and 5 encouraged the deceased as he got closer, and then accused 2, 3, and 4 shot the deceased with their own guns. Three of the accused, 1, 2, and 3, threatened the witnesses. The trial court determined that these facts were adequate to draw the conclusion that the five accused members of the unlawful assembly had the shared goal of killing the dead. They had a plan in place. The accused was found guilty at trial. Following an appeal, the top court overturned the conviction. The Supreme Court maintained the accused’s conviction.

It is imperative to bear in mind that unlawful assembly encompasses both nonviolent and violent actions that disrupt public order and tranquility. The law stipulates that the assembly members are accountable vicariously and that the meeting has to be unlawful with a common purpose. As long you and your companions do not meet any requirements for an unlawful assembly, you should not worry about reveling with a large group of friends.

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