Unlawful Assembly- No Conviction u/Sec 148/149 of IPC in Absence of at least 5 Accused- Supreme Court

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March 28, 2019

Case name: Ramvir v. State of Uttar Pradesh

The instant appeal challenges High court of Allahabad’s order, whereby the High Court convicted the appellant accused for offence under Sections 148/149 of the Indian Penal Code (Every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence commit­ted in prosecution of common object) and Section 302 of IPC.

In the case, FIR was registered against six accused persons for offence under Section 148/149 of the IPC and Section 302 of IPC. During the course of Trial, the Lower Court acquitted five out of 6 accused persons and the Appellant was one of the acquitted person. However, the Appellant was acquitted for offence under Section 149 of IPC and convicted for offence of murder under Section 302 of IPC.

Aggrieved by his conviction under Section 302 of IPC, the accused appellant approached High Court, whereby the High Court further convicted the Appellant under Sections 148/149 of IPC.

Hence, the issue that fell for consideration before the Supreme Court was whether the High Court was justified in convicting the appellant under Sections 148/149 of IPC?

In view of the facts of the case it would be relevant to mention here that Section 149 of IPC prescribes conviction for every member of unlawful assembly and Section 141 of IPC defines unlawful assembly as an assembly of five persons who commit certain offences in furtherance of a common object.

The Supreme Court after appreciating the facts of the case, acquitted the appellant of offence under Sections 148/149 of the IPC and enumerated the following reasons for acquittal:

  • That in the case, five co-accused had been acquitted for charges under Sections 148/149 of IPC, hence no case was made out against the appellant for his conviction for the said offences.
  • That the conviction with aid of section 148/149 of IPC cannot be recorded in absence of atleast 5 accused, either atleast 5 accused should stand convicted or total number of convicted accused plus unnamed accused should not be less than 5.

The entire case can be accessed here.