Judicial Dictionary

Meaning of ‘Waging War’

In 2003 SCC (Cri.) 2033 between Nazir Khan and others v. State of Delhi, wherein the Hon’ble Apex Court at Paras 31 to 36 has in detail discussed about what is meant by waging war. The above said case has been dealt with under the TADA Act and other provisions under IPC. The Hon’ble Apex Court has observed that,

“The word Wages has the same meaning as levying used in the English statute. Mere collection of men, arms and ammunition does not amount to waging war. The expression ‘waging war’ means and can only mean waging war in the manner usual in war.

In order to support a conviction on such a charge, it is not enough to show that the persons charged have contrived to obtain possession of an armoury and have, when called upon to surrender it, used the rifles and ammunition so obtained against the Government troops. It must also be shown that the seizure of the armory was part and parcel of a planned operation and that their intention in resisting the troops of the Government was to overwhelm and defeat these troops and then to go on and crush any further opposition with which they might meet until either the leaders of the movement succeeded in obtaining the possession of the machinery of Government or until those in possession of it yielded to the demands of their leaders. An assembly armed and arrayed in a warlike manner for any reasonable purpose is helium levatum, though not bellum percussum. Lifting and marching are sufficient overt acts without coming to a battle or action.”

(Emphasis supplied)


” an assemblv armed and arrayed in a warlike manner, for any treasonable purpose, is helium levatum though not bellum percussum.

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