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Section 149 IPC – Principles Explained by Apex Court.

STATE OF MADHYA PRADESH vs KILLU @ KAILASH AND ORS – Crl. Apl Nos: 1709 of 2019 – Justice. Uday Umesh Lalit & Justice. Indu Malhotra – dated: 19.11.2019.

Case of the prosecution [as observed by the Hon’ble S.C]:

The case of the prosecution that five accused had entered the house of the deceased on the fateful night is accepted. It is also found that each one of them was separately armed and two of them were armed with sharp cutting weapons. As far as other three accused i.e. the present respondents were concerned, the first one had a Ballam while the other two were having lathis. It is true that the deceased had only two injuries on the person which were the cause of death. To the extent that the persons who were armed with sharp cutting weapons were found responsible for causing the death is also not disputed or challenged. The evidence on record fully establishes that the present respondents had also accompanied those two accused persons who were found responsible for the crime and all of them had entered the house of the deceased around midnight. It is crucial to note that the incident did not happen in any public place where the presence of a non-participating accused could, at times, be labelled as that of an innocent bystander. The role played by each one of them was clear and specific. They had stormed into the house in the dead of the night.

Section 149 IPC – explained:

On the strength of the principles accepted and laid down in the cases as aforementioned, their liability is fully established. Merely because the other three accused persons i.e. the present respondents had not used their weapons does not absolve them of the responsibility and vicarious liability on which the very idea of charge under Section 149 IPC is founded. For the application of the principle of vicarious liability under Section 149 IPC what is material to establish is that the persons concerned were members of an unlawful assembly, the common object of which was to commit a particular crime. The fact that five persons were separately armed and had entered the house of the deceased during night time is clearly indicative that each one of them was a member of that unlawful assembly, the object of which was to commit the crime with which they came to be charged in question. The High Court was not justified in granting benefit to those three accused.

Point in which S.C distinguished H.C’s view:

The presence of the respondents in the house of the deceased; the fact that they were armed; the fact that all of them had entered the house around midnight and further fact that two out of those five accused used their deadly weapons to cause the death of the deceased was sufficient to attract the principles of vicarious liability under Section 149 IPC.

full judgment here: killu @ Kailash

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