This article is written by Pranit Bhagat pursuing B.A LLB from ILS Law College, Pune. In this article, he has briefly discussed the offences against public tranquillity with case laws related to it.
The public tranquillity is offences which are not only against the person and property of an individual but also an offence that is against the state. Tranquillity can also be stated as the quality or the state of being tranquil. These offences are group offences that are generally committed by the large number of persons resulting in disturbance of public tranquillity.
The public tranquillity is the group of persons doing an activity that causes the disturbance of peace in the society. As per this provision when a large number of persons engage in a criminal act with a common intention then each of the persons is made liable. These offences are classified into four categories as unlawful assembly, rioting, promoting enmity between different classes, and affray. For the development of society, there must be peace in society. But these offences are injurious of the public peace.
Chapter-VIII explains the provision of the offences against the public tranquillity. It is necessary to study the offences that are affecting public peace in society. To know about the offences against public tranquillity, Research has been made. The main aim of the research is to find the offences that are against the public tranquillity. From this research, we can come to know something about the public tranquillity and the offences that are against the public tranquillity. The study deals with the offences that are against the public tranquillity. Statistical data about the offences against public order in different years are discussed systematically. These offences are injurious to the public peace. So research is made to study the public tranquillity. The definition of public order is given in Section-31 of the Police Act, 1861 and requires that order will be maintained in public roads, etc. The State has a primary duty of maintaining public order. Any disturbance of the public through the use of either force or violence or in the name of the regional group may lead to the offence of public tranquillity.
For the development of society, there must be peace in society. Hence the framers of the Code incorporated these provisions stating and defining the offences which are against the public tranquillity. This paper attempts to study the offences that are relating to public tranquillity and the punishments given for the people indulging in activities that are affecting the public peace and order.
Peace and Morality
Peace and morality are the bases for the formation of society. When something happens and that affects the peace and morality in the society then it is considered to be the offence. Such offences are punishable under IPC. These offences are unlawful assembly, rioting, affray, etc. Indian constitution provides the legal framework to maintain the public order in society. Disturbed conditions spoil the progress of society. The economic progress of the country is reduced by public disorder and disturbs conditions.
Waging war against the state
IPC Section-121 talks about three aspects such as the abetment, attempt, and the actual war. All three aspects are punishable offences according to the IPC waging war in the highest offence against the state. Section-121A deals with the conspiracy to wage a war and the offence are punishable under Section-121A. To speak broadly all the offences which are against the state disturbs the public peace. Creating enmity between different groups also comes under waging war against the state as it affects the public tranquillity and national integration. Section-121, 121A, 122, 123, 124A of IPC talk about the waging war against the state.
Offence against public tranquillity
Chapter-8 of the Indian penal code contains the provisions that are relating to the offences against the public tranquillity or public order and it is not the offence against the person and property of an individual, it is the offence against the state. The offences specified, in their chapter are called group offences which are generally committed by a large number of people that result in disturbing the peace of the people. The offences may be classified as unlawful assembly, rioting, promoting enmity, and affect. Chapter X of the Code of Criminal Procedure talks about the legal provisions for maintenance of public order and tranquillity and lays down the duties, powers, and functions of the Executive Magistrate and the Police on their behalf.
Section-141 – Unlawful Assembly:
An assembly which consists of five or more person is defined as unlawful assembly. If a person commits a criminal trespass or compels any person to do what he is not legally bound to do or to omit what he is legally entitled to do.
- Using or showing criminal forces against the public servant, state or central government.
- To resist the execution of the law or legal process.
- To commit any mischief or criminal trespass on any person.
- To use the criminal force and deprive the enjoyment of the right of any person or obtain the possession of another person.
- To use the criminal force and compel a person to do what he is not legally bound to do.
The sections dealing with unlawful assembly are:
- Unlawful Assembly – Definition – Section 141
- Being a member of an unlawful assembly – Section 142
- Punishment – Section 143
- Join or continue to be in an unlawful assembly armed with deadly weapons – Section 144
- Join or continue to be in an unlawful assembly, knowing it has been commanded to disperse – Section 145
- Liability for constructive criminality – Section 149
- Render aid in various ways – Section 150, 152, 154, 157, 158
This section has also specified the various instances where an unlawful assembly can be assembled.
- Overawing the central or state governments or its officers
- Resistance to the execution of the legal process
- Commission of mischief
- Forcible possession
- Illegal compulsion
There must be more than 5 members and a common intention of assembling together unlawfully in an unlawful assembly. There should be some criminal trespass or other offences. There must be some criminal force against the state or central government or any public servant. There must be a commission of criminal trespass or other offences. There must be the usage of criminal force and compel a person to do an illegal act.
Being a member of unlawful assembly:
Section 142 deals with being a member of unlawful assembly. Whoever renders of the fact that it is an unlawful assembly and intentionally joins in that, or continues in it is said to be a member of unlawful assembly. The mere presence of a person in that assembly does not constitute such a person as a member of unlawful assembly. When an unlawful assembly proceeds with a common object as mention in section 141 but a person withdraws form that assembly then it clearly shows that he or she is not a member of unlawful assembly. When a member of unlawful assembly has a common object but could not proceed due to the physical weakness or any other injury then such a person is said to constitute a member of unlawful assembly.
The mere presence of a person in a place, where the members of the unlawful assembly have assembled does not incriminate him. The members of the unlawful assembly must possess a common object and intention and do any one of the acts as mentioned in Section-141 of IPC. When an unlawful assembly exercises the right of private defence and at that time when the opposite party attacks them, the right to private defence cannot be considered as the common intention. But when five or more people kidnap a woman and keep her in wrongful confinement then such assemblies are an unlawful assembly. As per this provision, every member of the unlawful assembly is punishable.
An assemble of less than five members cannot be called as the unlawful assembly.
Section-143 punishes the person who is a member of the unlawful assembly. This section gives punishment which may extend up to six years or fine or both.
IPC Section 146 and 147 talk about the act of rioting where section 146 covers the act of rioting and section 147 covers the punishment of rioting. In the case of Maiku v. State of Uttar Pradesh, The sub-inspector was investigated when he was on duty, he cannot be claimed that he was pursuing an unlawful act and therefore he cannot be convicted under section 147 of IPC. The punishment for an offence under 148 is prescribed as Imprisonment for 3years, or fine or both. It is a cognizable offence and it is Triable by any Magistrate of the first class. In the case of Allauddin Mian Sharif Mian v. the State of Bihar, There is a relation between a common object and offence created, when the offence is committed with a common object then every person is liable for that. Unlawful assembly is equal to five or more Persons plus a Common object. Rioting is equal to Unlawful assembly plus Violence. Section-153B of the act is punishable with Imprisonment for 3years or fine or both.
An explanation for rioting:
A riot can be defined as a form of civil disorder carried out by disorganized groups lashing out in a sudden and intense rash of violence against authority, property, or people. Many individuals can attempt to lead or control any riot which is typically chaotic and exhibit a herd-like behaviour generated by civil unrest. They often occur as a reaction for a perceived grievance or out of dissent. Poor working or living conditions, government, oppression, taxation or conscription, conflicts between races, food are some of the reasons due to which riots occur.
The punishment for an offence under 148 is prescribed as imprisonment for 3 years, or fine or both. It is a cognizable offence and Triable by any Magistrate of the first class.
Section-159 and 160 of the Indian penal code talks about the offences that are against affray. Affray can be defined as an offence by which two or more persons fight in the public place so that it affects the public order and peace. Depending upon the actions done those engaged in Affray may be liable to unlawful assembly, riot, and other offences. Section 160 deals with the punishment for Affray. The punishment may extend to one month or fine which may extend to ₹100 or both. To constitute this offence there must be: The fighting must be between two or more persons, the fighting must take place in some public place, it must cause some sort of terror among the people. In the case of Sunil Kumar Mohamed Alias Mahakhuda Vs. The State of Orissa, when one person beats on another person in a public place, no offence of affray is committed, when there is fighting in the public disturbing the public peace. The Ingredients for Affray to be committed are:
- There must be two or more persons.
- Fighting in a public place.
- By that fighting, they should disturb the public peace.
Section-160 talks about the punishment for affray where Imprisonment up to one month or up to Rupees 100/- or both. It is given in the police act. Section 31 of the police act of 1861 states that an order should be maintained in the public roads and public places. Section 34 which make it an offence for any person to cause obstruction, inconvenience, annoyance, risk, danger or damage and section 23, which makes it incumbent upon the police to maintain the public peace and prevent the commission of an offence and of public nuisance, it is clear that public order really means that the actions of a group of individuals should not impinge on the rights and convenience of any other group.
• State of U.P vs. Sughar Singh
Five accused were lying in a bush on either side of a lane, with armed guns. When the deceased came near, the accused 4 and 5 exhorted him and accuses nos 1, 2, and 3 shot the deceased with their guns respectively. Accused 1, 2, and 3 threatened the witnesses. The trial court held that all of these were sufficient to conclude that these five accused had constituted an unlawful assembly and has members had a common object to kill the deceased. They had a prearranged plan. The trial court convicted the accused. On appeal, the high court quashed the conviction. The state appealed to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court upheld the conviction against the accused.
• Aravindan vs. State of Kerala
A sudden quarrel arose between two parties. Each party abused the other party. There was no premeditated plan. All of a sudden, each party attacked others. The court held that neither of the parties would constitute to form an unlawful assembly
It is the fundamental principle of the state to maintain public peace and order. The definition of public tranquillity is given in section 31 of the Police Act of 1861. This act provides to maintain peace in the roads, public places, etc. Many provisions must be bought to maintain public order and peace in society. The criminal procedure code also provides certain provisions to maintain peace in society.
The unlawful assembly is also provided legally by the government but when it is done illegally or extended to rioting or Affray then it is punished by the sections of IPC. The India penal code punishes the offences against the public tranquillity. The public tranquillity is the criminal offences and it is injurious to the public peace for the development of the society. The study has statistical data about the offences against the public order is different years and discussed systematically. These offences are injurious to public peace. Disturbing peace in society creates inconvenience in society.
Tranquillity is the group offences committed by the group of people in society. As per the provision when a large number of people are affected then destroys the public peace which may turn into the offence against the public tranquillity. These offences are punished by the IPC strictly and imprisonment is given with fine.
Thus the offences relating to public tranquillity are strictly punished by IPC. These offences affect public peace and lead to disorder in the society. Thus by the alternative hypothesis, the Indian penal code strictly punishes the offences against public tranquillity.