The Supreme Court has held that there is no need for direct evidence to convict gangs which form into an unlawful assembly and indulge in crime to achieve a common objective.
"An object (objective) is entertained in the human mind and it being merely a mental attitude, no direct evidence can be available and, like intention, has generally to be gathered from the act which the persons commit and the result therefrom," a bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat and Asok Kumar Ganguly said.
According to the apex court, it is not necessary that the common object should develop prior to the commission of the offence.
"The time of forming an unlawful intent is not material. An assembly which, at its commencement or even for sometime thereafter, is lawful, may subsequently become unlawful. In other words, it can develop during the course of incident at the spot," the apex court said.
The bench passed the ruling while dismssing the appeal by Siyaram and other accused persons convicted by Madhya Pradesh High Court for forming into an unlawful assembly and attacking with lethal weapons two persons Ram Niwas and his brother Om Prakash over a property dispute.
The high court had convicted the accused under Section 149 (unlawful assembly) after reversing the acquittal order passed by the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Morena.