Can Section 149 IPC be charged without invoking Section 141 IPC?
The Supreme Court answers this question in an appeal raised to it from the decision of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The bench of the Supreme Court for this case comprised of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and KM Joseph.
The appellants of the case were charged under Sections 148, 302, 307, 325 read with Section 149 of the IPC and Section 449 of the IPC. The question in the particular case was that if someone is charged under Section 149 of Indian Penal Code, 1860, is it necessary to invoke him under Section 141 of IPC also?
The Court while answering to the above-mentioned question said that if the necessary ingredients of an unlawful assembly are proved, there is no specific invocation required to prove Section 141.
The argument contested by the Counsel of the appellant said that the non-inclusion of Section 141 of the IPC would be destructive to the conviction of the appellants under Section 149 of the Act. The Court looked at the precedents related to the concept of unlawful assembly under Section 149 have two elements:
- Assembly should contain at least five people
- There should be a common object to commit an offence.
Therefore, the Court observed that the non-inclusion of Section 141 would not be fatal to the prosecution’s case.
If we at a look at the facts of the particular case, the Court noted that on the night of the incident, seven persons arrived at the site of the crime. All of them inflicted blows on the deceased causing twenty-four injuries to him eventually resulting in his death. In this regard and in the context of common object, the Court said,
“This is not a case where the common assembly proceeded to the site and subsequently decided to inflict the blows. It is not as if anyone incidentally joined the group, but all of them came together with a clear intent and acted upon that intent. It was not as if any of the accused ran away from the site, or ceased to have the intent to inflict blows, which resulted in the death of the deceased.”
The Court thus found no merit in the case presented and dismissed the appeals preferred by the appellants.