• Legis Scriptor

A combined analysis of section 141, 142,and 149 of IPC

Authored By : Syeda Khizra Rizvi


The section 141, 142 and 149 deals with the concept of unlawful assembly it's punishment and the common intention and common object. The Constitution of India confers the fundamental right to assemble peacefully and without arms under Article 19 (1) (b). An unlawful assembly as per this section an assembly of 5 or more persons if the common object of the assembly is-

· To daunt by using criminal force or show criminal force, to Central or any of the State Government or Parliament or any of the State Legislature or any public servant; or

· To oppose the performance of any legal process or law; or

· To carry out any mischief, criminal trespass or any other offence; or

· Using criminal force takes possession of any property or deprives any person of the right to the way, the use of water or any incorporeal right; or

· With the show or use of criminal force compels or instigate any person to do any illegal activity.


unlawful assembly, common object, common intention, etc.


The mere presence of any person in an assembly without having common object does not make him the member of the unlawful assembly. The common object essentially to be examined keeping in view the acts of the members and the surrounding scenario of a case. Further, there is always a possibility that an assembly may be turned to an unlawful one in future. So, an assembly of five or more persons is designated an “unlawful assembly”, if the common object of the persons composing that assembly is falling under the provision of section 141 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. Thus, an assembly which was not unlawful when it assembled, may subsequently become an unlawful assembly.

Member of an Unlawful Assembly

According to Section 142 of Indian Penal code which states that, “Whoever, being aware of facts which render any assembly an unlawful assembly, intentionally joins the said assembly, or continues in it, is stated to be a part or member of an unlawful assembly.” The essential ingredient of section 142 is that as soon as the person is comes to know about the fact that the assembly is unlawful, it is to be proved that he/she remained as the part of such assembly despite of knowing the fact that it is unlawful. The word ‘continues’ under section 142 signifies physical presence as being a member of an unlawful assembly, that is, to be physically present in the group. This section cannot be attributed to a person who knows that the assembly is unlawful and is present as a just onlooker. In the case of Apren Joseph, the court held that the test is whether the person knows the common object of the assembly and continues to keep its company because of his own free will.

According to Section 149 of Indian Penal Code, 1860, "every member of any unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of the common object" As If an offence is committed by any member or any group of member of an unlawful assembly in prosecution of the common object of the said assembly, or such as the members of that assembly knew likely to be committed in prosecution of that object, every person who, at the time of the committing of that offence, is a member of the said assembly, is guilty of that offence.

To impose this section under group liability there should be an unlawful assembly, which is defined under Section 141 of IPC and the offence should be committed in prosecution of common object.

Common Intention

Common intention implies a plan which is pre-arranged and acting in concert in accordance to the plan. Common intention lies into being prior to the commission of the act, which need not be a long interval. To bring this section into effect the idea or a pre-concert is not necessarily be proved, but it may well develop on the spot as between several persons and could be deduce from facts and circumstances of each case.

Common object

The offence dealing with Vicarious Liability or Group Liability of members comes under Chapter VIII of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. This chapter deals with offences against Public Tranquility from section 141 to section 160. When the number of the persons reduces from five for trial for the reason that some were acquitted for the charges then the section 141 will become inapplicable but in case if there is clear indication that some other unidentified persons are involved in the crime then this section can be applied.. A common object may be formed at any stage by all or just a few members of the assembly. The explanation of this section shows it clearly that common object is entertained in the human mind so there can be no evidence to prove directly about this.


Thus, Section 141 and Section 142 with the concept of unlawful assembly and section 149 deals with the offences about the member of that unlawful assembly comprising of two keywords i.e. Common intention and Common object. Sometimes there arises difficulty in proving with proof that whether they shared common intention or not. And, how many people were there as members of Unlawful Assembly with the same common object .The word ‘knew’ is used in the second part of the Section 149, which implies more than a possibility but less than might have known. An offence committed in prosecution of common object would generally be offence which the members of the assembly knew was likely to be committed by them. This phrase means that the offence committed was immediately having connection with the common object of the unlawful assembly, of which the accused were members.