Less than five persons may be charged for unlawful assembly if some accused are not identified, named: Supreme Court

By – Sonal Priya

Less than 5 individuals can be charged below Section 149 of the Indian Penal (IPC) for offense devoted as a part of the illegal meeting if the illegal meeting had extra than 5 individuals however a number of them aren’t diagnosed and named [Mahendra vs State of MP].

A Bench of Justices Ajay Rastogi and Abhay S Oka discovered that though it’s miles a critical situation of an illegal meeting that its club should be 5 or extra as in step with Section 141 of IPC, it could now no longer be essential that 5 or extra individuals always be delivered earlier than the Court and convicted. “Less than 5 individuals can be charged below Section 149 if the prosecution case is that the individuals earlier than the Court and different numbering in all extra than 5 composed an illegal meeting, those others being individuals now no longer diagnosed and (remain) unnamed,” the Court said. However, the Court made it clear that if extra than 5 are charge-sheeted and face trial and a number of them are acquitted, then the closing can’t be convicted for the offense below Section 149 if their quantity is much less than 5. The Bench changed into handling an enchantment in opposition to a verdict of the Madhya Pradesh High Court which had upheld the order of the decreased courts convicting the accused individuals for offense below Section 149 IPC. The case stemmed from an assault at the complainant and his son through a set of 20 people. He had diagnosed and named a few of them and others have been apprehended for the duration of the investigation. All 20 had confronted trial, however simplest 3 have been subsequently convicted concerning the illegal meetings. The accused had argued that because 5 or extra are required to show an offense of illegal meeting, the acquittal of 17 individuals with the simplest 3 convicted did not fulfill that critical ingredient. The Supreme Court widespread the argument, retaining that 20 accused have been particularly named through the complainant and after the investigation, the charge­sheet changed into filed in opposition to all of the 20 accused individuals and that they confronted trial. Out of that 17 have been acquitted, the Court noted. It in addition discovered that it changed into now no longer the case of the prosecution that there have been different unnamed or unidentified individuals aside from the only who have been charge­sheeted and confronted trial. “When the alternative co­-accused individuals confronted trial and had been given the advantage of doubt and had been acquitted, it’d now no longer be permissible to take the view that there should had been a few different individuals alongside the appellant in inflicting accidents to the victim,” the judgment said. In the data and circumstances, it changed into as such now no longer permissible to invoke Section 149 IPC, the Court concluded. It, therefore, allowed the enchantment and set apart the judgment of the High Court