Unlawful Assembly has been defined under Section 141 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. It states an assembly whereby five or more than five person assembles:

1)  to do an act which they are not legally authorized to do under RULE OF LAW (?) or

2) shall omit what they are legally obliged to do.

Being regarded as the cardinal principle of law that; clamorous assemblage of men shall be discouraged in order to avert offences. Which involves the presence of more than one offender since it used to become quite an arduous task in earlier times. Because of this reason assemblage of people was regarded as a menace to the public peace and tranquility.[1] Gradually this principle evolved with changes in the arena of political institutions whereby for the growth of the democratic institutions assembling of men became a necessity. It is noteworthy that per se the assembling of men is not regarded as illegal; but shall be regarded so the moment the purpose of the meeting is for unlawful purposes. The same has even been aptly mentioned under Section 141 of the IPC.  Since such gatherings act as a catalyst for rioting or affray.


Under Section 141 there must be an assembly of five persons having common object to commit one of the five illegal objects as have specified in the section. This, however, is different under the English law where the assembly of merely three or more persons with a common intent to commit a crime or to carry out common purpose which results in reasonable grounds to apprehend a breach of peace and tranquility and which excites terror, alarm and consternation in the neighborhood All these acts are enough to constitute an act as an unlawful assembly though common purpose is not the criteria. This is however different under the Indian penal code where common object is the criteria.

Thus, under the Indian law, assembly must have a common object. The word ‘object’ may be regarded as the purpose or rationale behind doing a thing and thereafter comes the commonality of the assembly to carry out such a task meaning thereby that the object must be shared by all the persons comprising of the assembly. In situations where even a single member out of five are not sharing the common object then the assembly shall not be considered as an unlawful assembly. Also, an assembly assembling for the lawful purpose may even subsequently end up becoming an unlawful assembly as well.

Another aspect which must be borne in mind is the well is that; the law does not declare mere assemblage of men illegal unless the motive is inspired by an illegal object. For a person to be regarded as the part of the unlawful assembly, it must be proved that something was omitted or done on his part which would make him to qualify as the member of unlawful assembly.

Case law

With regard to conviction on individuals for being a part of unlawful assembly is concerned; the court of judicature in various matters have invariably upheld that; in situation where either of the member being charged is acquitted then in that situation the rest of the four accused cannot be convicted for being the member of the unlawful assembly. However, if it is proved that apart from accused and acquitted persons there were others also present but are not being able to identified then in that case the rest of the four (apart from acquitted one) can be could be convicted for the crime of unlawful assembly. In case of Kartar Singh [2]Supreme Court Justice Reghubar Dayal said:

If the courts below could legally find that the actual number of members in the appellant’s party were more than five, the appellant’s party will constitute an unlawful assembly even when only three persons have been convicted.

For clarity, following five categories has been mentioned under section 141 to be declared as illegal. They are as follows: –

  1. To overawe the government by criminal force;
  2. For resisting the execution of law or legal process;
  3. To commit or omit an offence;
  4. Through means of criminal force possess or deprive any other person of any property; or
  5. 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.

Member of an unlawful assembly.

Section 142 of IPC depicts as to who all shall comprise as the members of the unlawful assembly. For a person to be regarded as a part of member of unlawful assembly; one must be aware of the facts which may render any assembly as an illegal and thereafter; he must continue to be a part of it which discontinuing himself. This justifies that the person must have an intention to be a part of such an assemblage and in case if he attains know how about the legality at the later stage then in that case one must continue thereafter being aware of legality.

It is equally important to understand that mere presence does not make anyone a member; until and unless he does or omits some act which have been mention under section 141 of the IPC. In cases where a person is not aware of the circumstances than in that case section 141 cannot be attracted to the case.


For any person attracting sections 141 or 142; he shall be liable to punishment with imprisonment either up to six months or with fine, or with both. With regard to member of unlawful assembly armed with deadly weapon which is likely to cause death; shall be punished with imprisonment of either two years, or with fine, or with both. And in cases where the member willingly joins knowing that the said unlawful assembly has been commanded to disperse shall be punished in the same way as has been mentioned under section 144, IPC, i.e., with imprisonment up to 2 years or with fine or with both.

Read more blogs


  1. بازیابی رمز عبور؟ مرا به خاطر بسپار هنوز حساب
    کاربری ندارید؟

    بنابراین افرادی که جزء خریداران و متقاضیان اصلی این البسه هستند می توانند
    در تمامی فصول سال مدل های موردپسند خود را مطابق با شرایط آب
    و هوایی تهیه کنند و این خود یک نوع مزیت به شمار می رود.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This field is required.

This field is required.


The following disclaimer governs the use of this website (“Website”) and the services provided by the Law offices of Kr. Vivek Tanwar Advocate & Associates in accordance with the laws of India. By accessing or using this Website, you acknowledge and agree to the terms and conditions stated in this disclaimer.

The information provided on this Website is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice or relied upon as such. The content of this Website is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between you and the Law Firm. Any reliance on the information provided on this Website is done at your own risk.

The Law Firm makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, completeness, reliability, or suitability of the information contained on this Website.

The Law Firm disclaims all liability for any errors or omissions in the content of this Website or for any actions taken in reliance on the information provided herein. The information contained in this website, should not be construed as an act of solicitation of work or advertisement in any manner.