This article on ‘Laws Regulating Gangsters in India: All you need to Know’ was written by Akriti Parashar, an intern at Legal Upanishad.
Crimes have no bounds in contemporary times, having breached all human borders. In simple terms, a crime is any conduct that the law forbids, and anyone who commits a crime is punished by the law. Nowadays, there are numerous ways for a crime to be committed, one of which is by a gang led by a gangster. Due to the advancement of technology, crime has also become advanced and it is very easy to operate any crime from outside the country. Any crime which is committed by a gang is an organised crime. This article tries to analyse the concept of organised crimes and the laws regulating these crimes in India.
What is a gang?
In India, no specific central legislation has been made that will govern these crimes, however, several states had made their own laws and enacted act that will govern gangsters and such gang-related crimes. The most prominent law is the Uttar Pradesh Gangsters and Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act which was introduced in 1986 to curb gangsters and prevent any sort of heinous activities from being committed by them and which is applicable to that state only.
According to this act the word Gang is defined under section 2 (b) which means a group of different individuals, who singly or collectively engage in Anti-social activities and want to breach the public peace, create violence among the public and cause bodily harm for the purpose of gaining political, economic and social advantages.
Who is a gangster?
Gangs are headed by one leader, who is known as the gangster. According to Article 2 (c) of the Gangster Act, a Gangster is a member or a leader who leads the gang and includes any individual who incites or helps in any gang activities.
A Gangster is punished with rigorous imprisonment of a minimum of two years and it can be extended up to ten years along with a fine which cannot be less than five thousand rupees.
Laws Dealing with Gang Crime in India
- Indian Penal Code– In the Indian Penal Code, of 1860 there are several provisions governing crime related to gangs:
- Criminal conspiracy– When more than two individuals agree to commit a crime, then they will be held liable under section 120A of IPC for criminal conspiracy. This is one of the initial stages of crime which any gangs commit.
- Murder- Any person in the gangs will be held liable under section 300 and section 302 of the IPC when the killing of any individual is involved.
- Dacoity– When five or more than five people agree to conjointly commit or attempt to commit a robbery, they will be liable under section 391 of IPC and would be punished for life imprisonment or Rigorous imprisonment up to 10 years.
- Kidnapping – When any gang member kidnaps someone to extort money, create fear etc., then they will be held under sections 363 and 364 of IPC.
- Human Trafficking– Any person who is engaged in human trafficking will be liable under Sections 370 and 370A of the IPC.
- National Security Act (1980)- It is one of the preventive laws made to tackle such organised gang crimes directly or indirectly. It gives the right of detention to the state to arrest a person in order to restore public peace and security.
- The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (1985)- It is also a preventive law, which was passed with the aim of controlling the illegal selling and purchasing of drugs and other narcotics which proves to be harmful to society. It gives power to the Central and state governments as well as to any public official to issue orders in order to arrest a person who is causing harm by engaging in such activities.
- The Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (1987)- This act has a wide definition of what constitutes a terrorist act and can be easily used to prevent any organised gang crimes. The police usually employ this Act since gang crimes are classified as terrorist activities under this Act, and it is simple for the police to put an end to any such crimes.
- Some other laws are – There are certain other laws that govern such crimes: The Customs Act (1962), Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (1973), Public Gambling Act (1867), Prevention of Money Laundering Act (2002) etc.
Types of gang or organised crimes
- Trafficking of Drugs- It is one of the most prevalent and serious crimes committed by any gang, affecting both the national and international levels. It is risky since illegal drug trafficking has become standard practise in India, and youth are one of the groups targeted by these gangs for consuming, selling, and purchasing drugs.
- Money laundering – It is a process in which illegal money is converted to look like it is earned from a legitimate source. It is used by gangs to hide their money which is earned by illegal means. Illegal ways of earning money by gangs are drug trafficking, kidnapping, tax violation, etc.
- Smuggling- Smuggling means the illegal transfer of goods across borders. Those goods which require permission from the authorized authority for transfer from one place to another such as drugs, weapons, valuable jewels etc., transfer of such goods constitute smuggling which is a common practice for gangs.
- Human Trafficking- The trade of humans for illegal purposes is human trafficking, which is prohibited by law. Voluntarily prostitution is not a crime whereas forceful prostitution is a criminal offence. Trading of humans for the purpose of sex and illegal slavery is prohibited under Article 23 of the Indian Constitution.
- Contract killings- Contract killing occurs when a gang is hired to kill someone for money. It is common among dangerous gangs, where they are approached by anyone to kill their adversaries by hiring a hitman to complete the job for money. Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, shall hold them liable.
Committing crime has become an easy practice due to the advancement of technology, it has made the transfer of information, and money easy for the gangs and the gangsters. One of the main functions of any gang is to make money and there are various illegal ways in which they are doing so, such as money laundering, smuggling, kidnapping, drugs trafficking, prostitution, etc. Now Gangster can operate and control the gang’s activity without even being present in the country.
The government is working tirelessly to tackle these organised crimes by the gangs and arrest the gangster operating such gangs, but they are failing to do so because of a lack of central law specially made for the purpose of curbing such crimes. Various State has made their own laws and enacted acts to control gangster and their gang activities such as the Uttar Pradesh Gangsters and Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act, The Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act 1989 but still, they are not able to put a complete stop on such crimes.
- Meenakshi Rathore, “Gangs and Special laws dealing with gang crimes in India” 14 Journal of Advances and Scholarly Researched in Allied Education 1094 (2017).
- Monika Sharma, “Organized Crimes: An Overview” 5 Indian Journal of Law and Human Behaviour (2019).
- Jyo, Organised crime in India, Legal Services India, available at: https://www.legalservicesindia.com/article/1290/Organized-Crime-In-India.html, (last visited on May 16, 2023).
- Gang crimes, Lex Peeps, 15 September 2022, available at: https://lexpeeps.in/gang-crimes/, (last visited on May 16, 2023).
- Uttar Pradesh Gangsters and Anti- Social Activities (Prevention) Act, 1986: Bare Act, Hello Counsel, available at: https://www.hellocounsel.com/uttar-pradesh-gangsters-and-anti-social-activities-prevention-act-1986-bare-act/, (last visited on May 16, 2023).