There are some unsettling elements in society who, whether unintentionally or purposely, create a sense of hostility and disrupt societies tranquillity.
‘Affray’ is derived from the French word ‘affraier,’ which meaning ‘to terrify.’
As a result, it is seen as a public offence that provokes public dread. If an alarm of terror was caused to the public or members of the public, a conviction under this act is required.
The term “affray” refers to a scuffle or battle between two or more people in which a stroke is struck or offered, or a weapon is drawn. An affray occurs in a public location with the intent of instilling fear in the minds of the public.
“When two or more persons disturb the public peace by brawling in a public place, they are said to commit an offence of affray,” according to Section 159 of the Indian Penal Code.
Affray—When two or more persons, by scuffling in a public place, disturb the public peace, they are said to “commit an offence of affray”. The offence of affray is only committed when there are two or more persons indulged in fighting, not merely verbal, and the same conduct disturbed the public peace.
Fighting by two or more persons
A fight, i.e., a bilateral act in which two parties actively participate, does not constitute an affray, and it does not constitute an affray when the one who is assaulted submits to the assault without opposing it.
Fighting inherently indicates a spirit of competitiveness and a battle for dominance between two or more individuals.
When members of one party beat members of the other party and the latter does not react/strive back or makes no alternative to retaliate but remains passive, it cannot be argued that there was a scene of fighting between the members of the two parties. Furthermore, the crime of affray cannot be stated to be a victimless crime.
In the case of Jodhey and others vs. State of India –
A “fight,” as defined by Section 160 of the IPC, is not the same as a simple disagreement. Many qualified jurists and judges of India’s High Court and Supreme Court define “battle” in the following way:
“To strike or struggle to overcome for victory in battle or single combat in order to defeat, conquer, or destroy an enemy, either by blows or weapons.”
“Quarrel” implies that anger should be shown through utterances between two or more people rather than simply through the usage of a normal tone. Even if two are required for a battle or argument, the differences between them are visible.
In order to be charged with affray, there must be not only fighting between one or more parties, but also the possibility of causing a public disturbance, because the offence protects the public in a public area, a disruption in public peace must be destroyed in order to charge someone with it.
Whoever commits an act of affray shall be punished with either imprisonment of either description for a term not exceeding one month, or a fine not exceeding one hundred rupees, or both at the same time.
Meer Singh v. State
Three people were fighting, causing a disruption in the quiet of that specific neighborhood. Both accused parties admitted that they were fighting in a Gali, and that in such a fight, it was natural that they would disturb the public quiet, and that they would have to suffer as a result of their actions, so they sought a conviction for affray.
Because both warring parties are believed to have committed the crime, both sides can be charged with affray.
- It is now a criminal offence under the Criminal Procedure Code of 1973.
- It could be tried by a magistrate or a jury.
- It’s a one-time offence that can’t be repeated.
- It’s a charge that can be bailed out.
Affray is a crime in which two or more people are involved and offer each other a blow in order to display their majesty over a sovereign subject. And anyone who commits an affray offence will be punished by imprisonment, a fine, or both. In terms of affray, there is a clear distinction between common law and Indian law; nevertheless, several other components of crime, such as assault and riot, are distinct from affray, yet some of its ingredients appear to be similar in nature.
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