Q. What is unlawful assembly? Under what circumstances a member of a unlawful assembly commits an offence in prosecution of common object of the assembly. (2002) (1999) (1999 Annual) (1998) (1994)
Q. When member of unlawful assembly commits an offence in prosecution of common object of the assembly and how dose it effect other member of the Assembly. (2004/S) (2005/A)
Chapter VIII of P.P.C deals with the offences against public peace. If many persons assemble together to disturb peace and order, the trouble becomes magnified and deserves special treatment. Section 141 to 160 deals with these special offences, and provides punishments as such.
2. Relevant provisions:
Following are the relevant of P.P.C regarding the concerned topic.
Section 141 to 149 P.P.C.
3. unlawful ASSEMBLY u/SEC 141:
An assembly of five more person is designated an unlawful assembly, if the common object of the person composing that assembly is.
First To overawe by criminal force or show criminal force, the federal or any provincial Govt. or Legislature or any public servant in the exercise of the lawful power of such public servant, or
Second To resist the execution of any law, or of any legal process or
Third To commit any mischief or criminal trespass other offence, or
Fourth 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 right of way or the use of water or other incorporeal right of which he is in possession or, enjoyment or to enforce any right or supposed right. Or
Fifth By means of criminal force or show of criminal force to comply any person to do what he is not legally bound to do or to omit to do what he is legally entitled to do.
(I) Ingredients Of Sec 141:
Following are the ingredients of unlawful assembly.
(i) Assembly of five or More Persons:
To constitute unlawful assembly, it must consist of five or more persons. If the number of person is less than five, it would not constitute unlawful assembly even if the members have one of the five specified objects as their common object.
The essence f the offence is the common object of the persons forming the assembly. Whether the object is in their minds when they come together or whether it occurs to them afterwards in not material what in necessary is that they should all be aware of it and concur in it.
(iii)Object Must be Specified in Sec. 141:
The common object must be one of the five objects specified in section 141. A member of an unlawful assembly is guilty of an offence u/sec 141, when the common object of that assembly is of following types.
a. To Overawe Federal, ‘Provincial Govt. Legislature or public:
A person kept by superior influence is awe, so that he fears to do what the law empowers him to do is overawed. When the common object of an assembly is to overawe federal, provincial Govt. orLegislature or pubic servant in the exercise of the lawful power of such public servant, all person of the that assembly are guilt of an offence.
b. To Resist:
When the common object of an assembly is to resist the execution of any law or of any legal process e.g. warrant , attachment etc, the members of that assembly are regarded as member of unlawful assembly.
c. To commit Offences:
Although third clause specifies only two offences, viz mischief and criminal trespass but the words others offences seem to denote that all offences are included.
d. To Interfere Rights Attached With Property:
When the common object the assembly is to take-possession of any property or deprived any person of the enjoyment of a right way or use of water or other incorporeal right or to enforce any right, by the use of criminal force or by show of criminal force, that assembly will be designated as unlawful assembly and members will be punished as such.
e. Compulsion to Any person:
When the common object is 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 e.g. to restrict police officer to arrest.
(II) Turning Of Lawful Assembly Into Unlawful One:
According to explanation to sec. 141, an assembly which was not unlawful when it assembled may subsequently become an unlawful assembly.
4. Membership Of An Unlawful Assembly U/sec 142:
Whoever intentionally joins unlawful assembly or continues in it, being aware of the facts which renders an assembly an unlawful assemble is said to be a member of unlawful assembly.
5. Punishment U/Sec 143:
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 with both.
1994 Sc MR 588
It was held that in order to punish, the prosecution must prove and presence of each accused.
6. Punishment Where Person Armed With Deadly Weapon U/Sec 144:
Where member of an unlawful assembly is armed with a deadly weapon or with anything which is liked to cause death, shall be punished withimprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years or with fine or with doth.
(I)Defintion U/Sec 146:
Whenever force or violence is used by an unlawful assembly or by any member thereof, in prosecution of the common object of assembly, every member of such assembly is guilt of the offence of rioting.
Following are the ingredients of an offence of rioting.
(i) Use of Force or Violence:
There must be use of force or violence by an unlawful or any member thereof to constitute an offence of rioting, it is not necessary that the force violence should be directed against any particular person or object.
(ii)By Unlawful Assembly or Any Member:
The force or violence must be use by an unlawful assembly or any member of it. So to constitute an offence of rioting all the ingredients of section 141 need to be fulfilled.
(iii)In Prosecution of Common Object:
Such force or violence should have been used in prosecution of the common object of such assembly.
(III)Punishment U/Sec 147:
Whoever is guilty of rioting shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years or with fine or with both.
(Iv) punishment Where Rioting armed with a deadly weapon or with another which, used as a weapon of offence, is likely to cause death, shall be punished withimprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years or with fine or with both.
A person cannot be found guilty under this section unless he actually has a dangerous weapon in his hands. (PLD1981 SC286)
To conclude, I can say, that the law discourages tumultuous assemblage of men to preserve the public peace. It defines what an unlawful assembly is and provides punishments for such an assembly.