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Riot and Affray under BNS (Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita)

Updated: Feb 22

Introduction:


This article will focus on the legal implications of rioting and affray under Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023 (BNS), detailing on their definitions, essentials, and punishments.


Rioting:


Section 191 of the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS) defines rioting as the use of force or violence by an unlawful assembly in pursuit of a common unlawful objective. To establish an offence under this section, it is important to prove the existence of an unlawful assembly, the use of force or violence, and the commission of an offence.


Essentials of Rioting:


The core elements of rioting under Section 191(1) of BNS include the formation of an unlawful assembly with five or more members, a shared unlawful objective, the use of force or violence, and the connection between force used and the common objective.


Punishment for Committing Riot with Deadly Weapon:


Section 191(3) of BNS also talks about aggravated form of rioting when a deadly weapon is involved. It mandates enhanced punishment for individuals armed with deadly weapons during rioting. This is a key distinction between Section 191(1) of BNS and Section 191(3) of BNS


Provoking Riot:


Section 192 of BNS deals with provocation leading to rioting. It penalizes individuals who, through illegal acts, provoke others to commit rioting. The section considers both the occurrence and non-occurrence of rioting, prescribing different punishments accordingly.


Constructive Liability:


Section 193 of BNS addresses the constructive liability of landowners or occupiers when an unlawful assembly or riot takes place on their premises.


Obstructing Suppression of Riot:


Section 152 of BNS prohibits using force or threats against public servants attempting to disperse an unlawful assembly or suppress a riot. It imposes imprisonment for resisting or obstructing such efforts.


Affray:


Section 194 of BNS defines affray as a disturbance of public peace caused by the fighting of two or more individuals in a public place. The associated punishment under Section 194 of BNS includes imprisonment for up to one month or a fine of up to one hundred rupees.


Differences Between Riot and Affray:


1. Number of Participants:


- Riot: Requires a minimum of five individuals forming an unlawful assembly with a common objective.


- Affray: Involves two or more individuals engaged in a fight in a public place.


2. Location:


- Riot: May occur in any place, be it public or private, depending on the common objective of the unlawful assembly.


- Affray: Must take place specifically in a public area, and it cannot occur in a private setting.


3. Common Objective:


- Riot: Mandates a common unlawful object shared by the members of the unlawful assembly, as defined in Section 189 of the BNS.


- Affray: Focuses on the disturbance of public peace resulting from the physical altercation between the individuals, with no requirement for a shared common object.


4. Premeditation:


- Riot: Generally involves premeditated actions, with the members of the unlawful assembly planning and executing their common objective.


- Affray: Can be sudden and unpremeditated, occurring spontaneously in a public place without prior planning.


5. Participants' Actions:


- Riot: Implies a coordinated effort by the members of the unlawful assembly to use force or violence in pursuit of their common objective.


- Affray: Necessitates a physical fight between the involved individuals, with both parties actively participating in the struggle.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Riot and Affray under Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS)


Q: How does Section 191(3) of BNS differ from Section 191(1) in terms of punishment for rioting?


A: Section 191(3) of BNS addresses aggravated forms of rioting involving deadly weapons, imposing enhanced punishments. This distinction highlights the severity of offences when individuals are armed during rioting, emphasizing the need for a stricter legal response.


Q: What are the key responsibilities outlined in Section 193 regarding constructive liability of landowners or occupiers?


A: Section 193 places responsibilities on landowners or occupiers when an unlawful assembly or riot occurs on their premises. It emphasizes timely reporting, prevention, and suppression of such incidents, holding them constructively liable for the actions taken or not taken in response to the situation.


Q: How does Section 194 of BNS define affray, and what is the associated punishment?


A: Section 194 defines affray as a disturbance of public peace caused by the fighting of two or more individuals in a public place. The associated punishment under Section 194 includes imprisonment for up to one month or a fine of up to one hundred rupees, or both.


Q: Can you elaborate on the distinction between premeditation in rioting and the spontaneity in affray?


A: Rioting, as per Section 191(1) of BNS, generally involves premeditated actions, with members of an unlawful assembly planning and executing a common objective. On the other hand, affray, being sudden and unpremeditated according to Section 194, occurs spontaneously in a public place without prior planning.


Q: How does BNS handle cases where individuals obstruct the suppression of a riot?


A: Section 152 of BNS prohibits using force or threats against public servants attempting to disperse an unlawful assembly or suppress a riot. It imposes imprisonment for resisting or obstructing such efforts, providing a legal basis for addressing individuals hindering law enforcement actions in such situations.


Riot and Affray under BNS (Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita)




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