Overawe | The Last Word


Lal Singh v. State of Gujarat, (2001) 3 SCC 221: “Court in Collector of Customs v. D. Bhoormall, (1974) 2 SCC 544 held thus, “In all human affairs absolute certainty is a myth, and— as Prof. Brett felicitously puts it — ‘all exactness is a fake’. El Dorado of absolute proof being unattainable… legal proof is not necessarily perfect proof; often it is nothing more than a prudent man’s estimate as to probabilities…”.”

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Section 121A deals with conspiracy to commit offences, punishable under Section 121, to ‘overawe’ by force – Central Government or any State Government. In terms of its application, width of Section 121A is not confined to conspiracy to commit offences punishable under Section 121 alone.

The dictionary meaning of ‘overawe’ is to subdue or inhibit with a sense of awe. The expression ‘overawe’ would imply creation of apprehension or situation of alarm. Explanation to Section 121A discloses, for an offence of conspiracy, it would not be necessary any act or illegal omission must take place in pursuance thereof. Thus, even though no untoward incident had actually happened, conviction recorded under Section 121A does not call for any interference.

Hon’ble Justice U.U. Lalit, Mohammad Irfan v. State of Karnataka, [Criminal Appeal Nos. 201-202 of 2018].



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