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  • Jun 22, 2019
    Section 141 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 defines what is an unlawful assembly. An assembly of five or more persons is designated as ‘unlawful assembly’ if the common object of the persons composing that assembly is – To overawe by criminal force, or show of criminal force, the Central or any State Government or Parliament or the Legislature of any State, or any public servant in the exercise of the lawful power of such public servant; or To resist the execution of any law or of any legal process; or  To commit any mischief or criminal trespass, or other offence; or By means of criminal force, or show of criminal force, to any person, to take or obtain possession of any property, or to deprive any person of the enjoyment of a right of way, or the use of water or other incorporeal right of which he is in possession or enjoyment, or to endorse any right or supposed right; or By means of criminal force, or show of criminal force, to compel any person to do what he is not legally bound to do, or to omit to do what he is legally entitled to do.   The important requirements for an unlawful assembly to take place is that there must be an assembly, the assembly must consist of five or more persons, the persons composing the assembly must have a common object that is to intimidate the government with use of criminal force and commit an illegal activity.   Section 142 of the IPC says that whoever being aware of facts which render any assembly an unlawful assembly intentionally joins that assembly, or continues in it, is said to be a member of an unlawful assembly.   Section 143 of the IPC mentions the punishment for such unlawful assembly. Whoever is a member of an unlawful assembly, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine, or both.   Nature of the offence itself is cognizable, bailable and non-compoundable and can be tried by any magistrate. It is based upon the principle of Constructive Liability under section 149. Every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object. If an offence is committed by any member of an unlawful assembly in prosecution of the common object of that assembly, or such as the member of that assembly knew to be likely to be committed prosecution of that object, every person who at the time of the committing of that offence, is a measure of the same assembly, is guilty of that offence.   In the case of State of Maharashtra v Joseph Mingel Koli, 1997 the Bombay High Court held that, every member of an unlawful assembly is vicariously liable for the act done by others either in the prosecution of the common object of the unlawful assembly or such which the members of unlawful assembly knew were likely to be committed.
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