Hari v. State of Uttar Pradesh

Penal Code, 1860 Section 149 Unlawful Assembly.

Section 149 of the Indian Penal Code is declaratory of the vicarious liability of the members of an unlawful assembly for acts done in prosecution of the common object of that assembly or for such offences as the members of the unlawful assembly knew would be committed in prosecution of that object. If an unlawful assembly is formed with the common object of committing an offence, and if that offence is committed in prosecution of the object by any member of the unlawful assembly, all the members of the assembly will be vicariously liable for that offence even if one or more, but not all committed the offence. Again, if an offence is committed by a member of an unlawful assembly and that offence is one which the members of the unlawful assembly knew to be likely to be committed in prosecution of the common object, every member who had that knowledge will be guilty of the offence so committed. It is not necessary for the prosecution to prove each of the members’ involvement especially regarding which or what act. While overt act and active participation may indicate common intention of the person perpetrating the crime, the mere presence in the unlawful assembly may fasten vicariously criminal liability under Section 149. Common object is different from common intention as it does not require a prior concert and a common meeting of minds before the attack. It is enough if each has the same object in view and their number is five or more and that they act as an assembly to achieve that object. The common object of an assembly is to be ascertained from the acts and language of the members composing it, and from a consideration of all the surrounding circumstances. It may be gathered from the course of conduct adopted by the members of the assembly. [Paras 35 & 36]

Two young men and a woman were physically assaulted for nearly 12 hours and killed by the accused for violating caste-ridden societal norms.

Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973Section 354 (3)In India, imposition of death sentence can be only after special reasons are recorded. [Para 44]

Criminal Law Factors that may be taken into account by the Court for imposition of death sentence Discussed.

Criminal Law – Factors as indicators of aggravating circumstances – Discussed.

Criminal Law – The ghastly murders of three youngsters which are honour killings squarely falls under the head of anti-social and abhorrent nature of the crime.

Penal Code, 1860 – Conviction with the aid of Section 149 IPC can be only in case where at least two witnesses speak about the involvement of person.

Case Law Reference

  1. Shakti Vahini v. Union of India, (2018) 7 SCC 192
  2. Kattukulangara Madhavan v. Majeed, (2017) 5 SCC 568
  3. Arumugam Servai v. State of Tamil Nadu, (2011) 6 SCC 405
  4. Zahira Habibullah Sheikh v. State of Gujarat, (2006) 3 SCC 374
  5. Charan Singh v. State of U.P., (2004) 4 SCC 205
  6. Lalji v. State of U.P. (1989) 1 SCC 437
  7. Machhi Singh v. State of Punjab, (1983) 3 SCC 470
  8. Bachan Singh v. State of Punjab, (1980) 2 SCC 684
  9. Shambhu Nath Singh v. State of Bihar, AIR 1960 SC 725