DISPERSAL OF UNLAWFUL ASSEMBLIES

Updated: May 20

A meeting of four or more people likely to cause a breach of the peace or to endanger the public or meeting of the people to harm the rule or law is said to be unlawful assemblies.

According to Indian law the dispersal of unlawful assemblies is defined in Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 from Section-129 to Section-132. And these sections also explain the authorities which have the power to disperse the unlawful assembly.


Use of civil force to disperse the assembly (Section-129)

Any officer or executing magistrate in charge of the police station, or in the absence of such officer in charge, any police officer, not below the rank of sub-inspector, have the power to disperse any unlawful assembly of five or more person likely to cause a disturbance to public peace.

Even after the command of the officer the assembly does not disperse. The officers above mentioned have the right to proceed to disperse such assembly by force. The officers can also take the assistance of any such male person and not being the member of an armed force or the officer. And if necessary arresting and confining the member of the assembly they have the power to do so according to law.


The disperse of assembly by the use of armed force (Section-130)

If any unlawful assembly does not get dispersed and it is necessary to disperse the assembly for the public security. Then the Executive Magistrate of the highest rank may cause it to be done by the armed force to disperse the assembly.

The magistrate may require any officer in command of the armed force to disperse the assembly under his command. The such officer of armed force also has the same right to arrest and confine as the magistrate directs according to law.

The officer in command of the armed force shall obey such order in the manner he thinks fit. While doing so, he should use little force and cause little injury to person and property.


Power to disperse the assembly of armed force (Section-131)

If necessary for public security, any gazette officer or commission of the armed forces may disperse such assembly with the help of the armed forces under his command. They can also arrest and confine any persons forming part of it. Such officers so authorized if no executive magistrate reachable and public security clearly endangered by such assemblies. They can also punish the people forming part of it according to law. If it becomes possible to communicate with an executive magistrate, then the officer in command shall obey the order of such magistrate.


Protection against the prosecution for the acts done (Section-132)

A. No prosecution against any person for any act done under the above sections(129,130,131) shall be instituted in any criminal court except –

1. With the approval of the central government where such person is an officer or member of the armed force.

2. With the approval of the State Government in any other case.

B. No shall –

1. If the police officer or executing magistrate acting in good faith.

2. If the person doing any act in good faith in compliance with an order under section- 129 or section- 130.

3. Under section-131, any officer of armed force acting in good faith.

4. The member of armed force doing an act in obedience to the command he was bound to obey.

C. In this section and in the preceding of this chapter-

1. the expression “armed forces” means the air force, military or naval, operating as land forces and includes any other Armed Forces of the Union so operating;

2. “officer” in relation to the armed forces, means a person gazetted, commissioned or in pay as an officer of the armed forces and includes a junior commissioned officer, a petty officer, a warrant officer, a non-commissioned officer and a non-gazetted officer;

3. “member” in relation to the armed forces, means a person in the armed forces other than an officer.

These were certain officers who have the authority to disperse the unlawful assembly according to the law and their protection against the prosecution if any required so.

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