The offender under this section must belong to a gang of persons. This gang must consist of persons who are associated for the purpose of habitually committing dacoity. The purpose of the section is to check gang dacoities committed almost as a matter of business. Association for the habitual pursuit of dacoity is the crux of the offence. The word ‘belong’ implies much more than mere casual association and shows a continuity in intimate connection with a body of persons over a reasonably long period of time.
Women who lived as wives or mistresses of men engaged in this kind of activity would not be held to belong to a gang till it was established that they themselves were associated with them for the purpose of themselves habitually committing dacoities. The word ‘gang’ implies that the persons go in company of each other as one group in a concerted manner with the purpose of habitually committing dacoity. The word ‘habitually’ means that it has become a habit with such criminals to commit dacoities very frequently. Participation in more than two dacoities within a short span of time would make a person guilty under this section. The quantum of punishment shows that the offence under this section is a very serious one. It is important to note that there is no provision for simple imprisonment under this section.
The offence under section 400 is cognizable, non-bailable and non-compoundable, and is triable by court of session.