In this Section
Mere presence of an accused at the crime scene is sufficient to convict a person provided he had an “active mind in furtherance of the common object,” the Supreme Court has ruled in a case where the groom was murdered on the very next day of his marriage. A Bench of Justices V S Sirpurkar and A R Dave passed the ruling while dismissing an appeal of four life convicts challenging their conviction on the ground that they were merely present at the site and their active involvement was not established. “The law of vicarious liability under Section 149 IPC is crystal clear that even the presence in the unlawful assembly, but with an active mind, to achieve the common object makes such a person vicariously liable for the acts of the unlawful assembly,” Justice Sirpurkar observed. In this case, the groom Shankar Rai was killed after the convicts – Amerika Rai, Mithilesh Rai, Sanjay Rai and Sipahi Rai along with another Chulhan Raj shot him dead. The irony was that the convicts and the deceased were all friends and relatives who had visited the bride’s village the previous day to attend the marriage at Ishupur village in Vaishali district in Bihar on June 26, 1995.