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Every member of unlawful House liable to punishment:SC

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Apr 9: The Supreme Court has held that every member of unlawful assembly is liable to be punished for the offence committed by such assembly, even if the member has not participated in actual commission of crime.

The ruling was handed down by a bench comprising Mr Justice S B Sinha and Mr Justice P P Naolekar vide judgment dated April 5 while dismissing appeals of two persons convicted for murder and sentenced to life imprisonment along with three other convicts.

The Supreme Court has already dismissed the appeals of three main accused namely Silva Kumar, Sasi Kumar and Madhusudanan.

The present appellants namely Munivel and Kalith had challenged their conviction on the grounds that they had played no role in the commission of an offence under section 302 of IPC and no further case had been made out against them for conviction for an offence of attempt to murder(section 307, IPC).

The trouble started when the proposal for marriage of the main accused Selvam fell through and the accused suspected that it was because of some information provided by the deceased Babu Naidu to her family.

On March 16, 1994, Raja and Kanan, sons of the deceased were attacked around midnight near their house and intestines of Kanan came out as result of a knife-blow inflicted by one of the accused Sasi. The ring fingers of both hands of Pushpa, wife of the neighbour of the deceased, were chopped off.

All the five accused wre convicted by the trial court under section 302 of IPC and were awarded life imprisonment. Madras High Court on appeal modified the trial court order to the extent that the two accused were held convicted for offence under section 302/34 instead of section 302/149 of IPC.

Grievous injury was also inflicted on a constable.

The apex court, while dismissing the appeals, ruled that section 149 provides for vicarious liability and if an offence was committed by any member of an unlawful assembly in prosecution of a common object thereof or such as the members of that assembly knew that an offence was likely to be committed, every person, who at the time of commission of that offence was a member, would be guilty of the offence committed.


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