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Indian Case Summary

Mizaji And Another vs The State Of U.P on 18 December, 1958 – Case Summary

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In the case of Mizaji and Another vs The State of U.P on 18 December 1958, the Supreme Court of India was confronted with a matter of grave consequence involving the unlawful assembly, forcible possession, and murder. The case was adjudicated by a bench comprising of Kapur, J.L., Imam, Syed Jaffer, and Das, S.K.

Facts of the Case

The case revolved around an incident that occurred early in the morning, where five individuals, namely Tej Singh, his son Mizaji, his nephew Subedar, his cousin Machal, and his servant Maiku, went to take forcible possession of a field that was in the cultivatory possession of Rameshwar and others. The appellants were armed with various weapons, including a spear and a pistol. They began to plow and cut the crops in the field. When Rameshwar and others arrived and protested, the appellants threatened them and refused to leave. Upon further refusal from Rameshwar’s group, Tej Singh ordered Mizaji to fire at them, resulting in Rameshwar’s death.

Issues Raised

The appellants contended that the other appellants could not have known that Mizaji carried a pistol in the folds of his dhoti, and that the murder was not committed in prosecution of the common object to take forcible possession. They also argued that the other appellants did not know that murder was likely to be committed in furtherance of the common object.

Court’s Observations and Ruling

The court held that the appellants had been rightly convicted and sentenced under S. 302 read with s. 149 Indian Penal Code. The court observed that the extent to which the members of the unlawful assembly were prepared to go in prosecution of the common object was indicated by the weapons carried by them and their conduct. The court also noted that the circumstances showed that the appellants must have known that Mizaji was carrying a pistol. The court found that the appellants were prepared to take forcible possession at any cost and the murder was immediately connected with the common object.

The court further observed that under the first part of S. 149, the offence committed in prosecution of the common object must be one which was committed with a view to accomplish the common object and must be connected immediately with the common object of the unlawful assembly of which the accused were members. Even if the offence committed was not in direct prosecution of the common object of the assembly, it would yet fall under s. 149 if it could be shown that the offence was such as the members knew was likely to be committed.

The court also noted that the fact that the appellants went to take possession in the absence of the complainants did not show that the common object was not to take forcible possession as proceedings were going on between the parties in the Revenue Court for possession over the field and the appellants had gone armed with lethal weapons prepared to overcome the opposition which they knew they would meet.

Mizaji was rightly given the sentence of death. He shared the common object of the unlawful assembly and carried the pistol from his house to use it in prosecution of the object and did use it. The fact that he used the pistol at the instance of his father was not a mitigating circumstance.

Conclusion

The case of Mizaji and Another vs The State of U.P on 18 December 1958 is a significant judgment that provides a detailed interpretation of the provisions related to unlawful assembly and the extent of liability of its members. It underscores the principle that the members of an unlawful assembly can be held liable for acts committed in furtherance of the common object, even if they did not directly participate in the act. The case also highlights the court’s approach in

determining the common object of an unlawful assembly, which is not merely based on the overt acts of its members, but also on the circumstances, the nature of the weapons carried, and the conduct of the members.

Key Legal Principles

  1. Common Object of Unlawful Assembly: The court clarified that the common object of an unlawful assembly must be one which was committed with a view to accomplish the common object and must be connected immediately with the common object of the unlawful assembly of which the accused were members. Even if the offence committed was not in direct prosecution of the common object of the assembly, it would yet fall under s. 149 if it could be shown that the offence was such as the members knew was likely to be committed.
  2. Extent of Liability: The court held that all members of an unlawful assembly can be held liable for acts committed in furtherance of the common object, even if they did not directly participate in the act. The extent to which the members of the unlawful assembly were prepared to go in prosecution of the common object was indicated by the weapons carried by them and their conduct.
  3. Knowledge of Weapons: The court observed that the circumstances showed that the appellants must have known that Mizaji was carrying a pistol. The court found that the appellants were prepared to take forcible possession at any cost and the murder was immediately connected with the common object.
  4. Mitigating Circumstances: The court held that the fact that Mizaji used the pistol at the instance of his father was not a mitigating circumstance. The court emphasized that Mizaji shared the common object of the unlawful assembly and carried the pistol from his house to use it in prosecution of the object and did use it.

The judgment in the case of Mizaji and Another vs The State of U.P on 18 December 1958 serves as a crucial precedent in understanding the legal principles related to unlawful assembly and the extent of liability of its members. It provides a comprehensive interpretation of the provisions related to unlawful assembly and the extent of liability of its members under the Indian Penal Code.