BACKGROUND OF THE CASE
- The accused had allegedly formed an unlawful assembly of people with an intention to snatch the voters list and cast bogus voting during an election. They had also attacked some political workers.
- They were convicted for the offences under Sections 323 and 147 of the Indian Penal Code.
- They were sentenced to undergo six months of simple imprisonment.
- The accused had raised one major contention that no injury report was brought on record and on the basis of that, they cannot be convicted for the offence under Section 323 IPC.
SECTION 147 IPC
This Section provides punishment for rioting. It states that whoever is convicted for rioting, shall be punished with imprisonment or fine, or with both.
SECTION 323 IPC
This Section provides punishment for voluntarily causing hurt. It states that whoever voluntarily causes hurt to others, shall be punished with imprisonment or fine or with both.
SINE QUA NON
It is a legal maxim which translated as a necessary condition without which something cannot be done or is not possible to carry out.
OBSERVATIONS BY COURT
- The Bench consisting of Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah held that the evidence provided by the injured witnesses is entitled to a great weight and are valid. To discard their evidence, strong convincing grounds are required.
- The Court further noted that all the witnesses were very consistent in their statements and provided their complete support in the case of the prosecution.
- The Court held that, as there were no serious or visible injuries, the hospital might not have issued the injury report. However, production of an injury report for the offence under Section 323 IPC is not a sine qua non for establishing a case for the offence under Section 323 IPC.
- They further went to explain the Section 323 IPC and hurt, as defined under Section 319 IPC. According to Section 319 IPC, whoever causes bodily pain, disease or infirmity to any person is said to cause "hurt". Thus, according to the facts and circumstances of the case, the lower courts conviction was error free.
DECISION OF THE COURT
- The Court further observed that, there was presence of all the accused persons at the time of incident and the prosecution, while examining the witnesses, established their active participation.
- While upholding the conviction, the Bench said, “Once the unlawful assembly has been established in prosecution of a common object, i.e., in the present case, "to snatch the voters list and to cast bogus voting", each member present in the unlawful assembly is guilty of the offence of rioting. The use of the force, even if only one person has used it, once established will be counted as unlawful rioting.”
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