Section 402 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 – Explained!
Since in dacoity there have to be a minimum of five persons, every one of those five persons who has assembled for the purpose of committing dacoity makes himself liable under this section. Assembling for any other purpose is not covered by this section. The offence is quite serious and cannot be punished with simple imprisonment.
Where the accused persons belonged to different villages and they assembled near a lonely well far away from their homes, and arms capable of committing dacoity were recovered from them, this section was held to be attracted. Where the accused persons belonged to different villages, and they were found travelling together in a tonga which was hired for taking them to a particular village, and electric torches and unauthorised firearms were recovered from them, and when they were being apprehended they resisted the same and two of them were earlier found loitering near a particular house and avoided answering as to what were they doing there, it was held that they were guilty under this section.
Where the accused persons were found sitting in the waiting hall of a railway station and a country-made gun without cartridges, a whistle and a big torch were recovered from them, that by itself would not prove that they had assembled for the purpose of committing dacoity.
But where three persons, variously armed and having house-breaking instruments with them also, were apprehended late in the night at a place about three and a half miles away from their home, and they could not explain their presence there, it was held that they were guilty under section 402 for assembling for the purpose of committing dacoity and under section 399 for making preparation to commit dacoity.
Where the accused persons, armed with various weapons, assembled at night near a brick kiln away from their village, and they could not explain their presence there, section 402 was held to apply.
The offence under this section is cognizable, non-bailable and non-compoundable, and is triable by court of session.
Of Criminal Misappropriation of Property
This part of the chapter dealing with offences against property is restricted to two sections only, sections 403 and 404, concerning the offence of criminal misappropriation of property.