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Every member of the unlawful assembly is guilty of the offence of rioting even though he may not have himself used force or violence: The Supreme Court of India

Election is a mechanism which ultimately represents the will of the people. The essence of the electoral system should be to ensure freedom of voters to exercise their free choice. Therefore, any attempt of booth capturing and/or bogus voting should be dealt with iron hands because it ultimately affects the rule of law and democracy. Nobody can be permitted to dilute the right to free and fair election. The aforesaid has been established by the Supreme court in the case of Lakshman Singh Vs. State of Bihar [ CrA 606 OF 2021] which was decided upon by a two-judge bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah on 23rd July 2021.

The facts of the case are as follows. the accused are convicted for the offences under Section 323 and 147 IPC and are sentenced to undergo six months simple imprisonment. The accused had allegedly formed an unlawful assembly “to snatch the voters list and to cast bogus voting” and attacked some political workers during an election. It was submitted by the counsel for appellant that the motive has not been established and proved. It is submitted that the common object was alleged to be to cast bogus votes, which was never cast.

The court perused the facts and arguments presented by both the parties. It was hence of the opinion that “In view of the above and for the reasons stated hereinabove, all the appeals fail and deserve to be dismissed and are accordingly dismissed. Since, the applications for exemption from surrendering of the accused, appellants herein were allowed by this Court vide orders dated 15.03.2019 and 08.07.2019 respectively, the accused-appellants are directed to surrender forthwith to serve out their sentence.” It was declared by the Supreme Court that Any attempt of booth capturing and/or bogus voting should be dealt with iron hands because it ultimately affects the rule of law and democracy.

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