Criminal Conspiracy under IPC


Introduction Martin Luther King said, 'The characteristic of a civilized society is the ability of the people to follow the unenforceable.' Two sides of the same coin are Crime and Conspiracy. While the principle of actus reus and mens rea, which is a physical act and an ill will, is based on violence, the conspiracy takes a position to correct the crimes perpetrated by society. The root of the criminal conspiracy background is very ancient. In view of the complicated nature of the criminal conspiracy act, in the famous case known as the 'Poulters' Case 'that was decided in 1611, it was the first time it was given legal bearing. The defendants conspired in the Poulters case and falsely brought a case of theft against a single person called 'Stone.' It held Stone innocent and cleared him of all charges set out by the defendants in a place of the facts presented in front of the federal judge. Further, it was in the defend-suit brought by Stone that the court laid down the principle, what we know today as a criminal conspiracy. The court noted that irrespective of whether Stone was wrongly charged or acquitted, the mere existence of conspiracy carried out by the defendants lays down the gist of the offense and can therefore be treated as a crime and taken to an investigation. Criminal Conspiracy Definition It has been defined under Section 120A of The Indian Penal Code, 1860. “Definition of criminal conspiracy.--When two or more persons agree to do or cause to be done,- (1) an illegal act, or (2) an act which is not illegal by illegal means, such an agreement is designated a criminal conspiracy: Provided that no agreement except an agreement to commit an offense shall amount to a criminal conspiracy unless some act besides the agreement is done by one or more parties to such agreement in pursuance thereof. Explanation.-It is immaterial whether the illegal act is the ultimate object of such agreement, or is merely incidental to that object.” In the landmark judgment of Rajiv Kumar v State of UP (2017) the court held the following ingredients: 1. There must be mandatorily two or more persons; 2. An illegal act or any act with is done in an illegal way must be conducted; 3. There must be a meeting of minds between the members committing the crime; 4. There has to be an agreement related to the same. In Pratapbhai Hamirbhai Solanki v. State of Gujarat and another, the Supreme Court held primarily presents to cause an illegal act is the basis of criminal conspiracy. Elements explanation: 1. Two or more person: The most significant aspects of the criminal conspiracy are that there have to be two or more individuals who conspire over something since we all realize that one should not conspire about the aspects to him. In the case of the State of H.P vs. Krishan Lal, it was held that the criminal conspiracy consists of a meeting of the minds of two or more people in the state to consent to do or trigger an illegal act or an act that is not illegal but by illegitimate activities. 2. Can there is the conviction of one only: Now the question is what if the court can punish them for criminal conspiracy if only one out of two or three convicts is caught because since we know that it is mandatory to have a minimum of two people, at first there is the rule that if only one convict is found, there is no punishment, but later in the case of Bimbdhar pradhan v. Orissa state, it was held that only one person can be convicted by the court. The argument to be remembered is that if there are many minor offenses committed in the pursuit of crime, both of them would be prosecuted for the same. 3. Illegal act: There must be an agreement to do an act that is contrary to or prohibited by law in order to constitute an offense under this section. It can be noted that it is illegal to conspire with another person, an act that, if done alone, may not be a crime. The key motive of this segment is to punish even the essential stage of a crime. 4. Illegal means: In addition, this section punishes the agreement to perform an act that may not be unconstitutional, but the means to do an act is unlawful. The end does not justify the means, since, for example, if a man wants to marry a girl but to marry her, he attempts to kidnap the girl violently here, the man's intent is legitimate, but it is punishable by the way or means to commit an act. Related Provisions of Law: The applicable legal provisions dealing with the crime of criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code are as follows: • Section 120A and Section 120B, which deal with conspiracy as a fundamental crime, i.e. an act which, in itself, constitutes a crime, and punishment for it; • Section 107, which deals with conspiracy as a means of perseverance; • Section 121A, which concerns with an act establishing an offense of conspiracy against the Government of India to fight, attempt, or promote war; • Sections 310, 311, 400, 401, and 402 deal with conspiracy as a form of involvement in the commission of an offense. Proof of Conspiracy: The crime is fundamentally psychological in nature. The evidence of such an act is often difficult. This does not, however, constitute a central aspect of the conspiracy. It can be performed through: • Direct Evidence or; • Proof Circumstantial. In the case of Bhagwan Swaroop Lai Bishan Lai v. the State of Maharashtra, the Doctrine of Agency also comes into action. The fact that the conspiracy had an organization could indicate that this individual was involved in the act. In the case of Quinn v. Leathern, it was held that, in pursuance of the predetermined actions, the inference is usually deduced from the actions of the parties. Circumstantial evidence and clear evidence turn out to be the same in such a crime since an act has not yet been committed. The act is only being conspired. Punishment for criminal conspiracy under section 120B: Conspiracy linked to a crime punishable with death, imprisonment for life & a stringent penalty for two years also there shall be no express provision of its penalty mention in this code in certain circumstances accused is considered as like they abetted the same crime on the other hand in para 2 it covers all the conspiracy other than a mention in para 1 all conspiracies that are cover in para2 shall be punishable with imprisonment of six months or with fine. Landmark Judgments: • Topan Das v. Orissa State, AIR 1956 SC 33 In the aforementioned case, the court claimed that it is an existing rule of law that only one person cannot conspire and that there should be at least two persons for the same reason and that, because one cannot conspire with oneself, one can never be found guilty of criminal conspiracy. • B. Narsimha Rao against Govt. Around A.P.P. In this case, along with seven others, the appellant was convicted of an offense of criminal conspiracy. Nevertheless, he himself was charged with offenses under Ss. 120-B, 409 and 471, IPC, read in Section 5(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947, under Sections 5(1)(c) and 5(l)(d). Simultaneously, the Trial Court and the High Court acquitted all the other co-conspirators. In the end, the Supreme Court discharged the accused on the facts that there had to be another person to connect with and carry out the arrangement and that a single individual could never be accounted for conspiracy. • State (Admn. of Delhi) v. V.C.Shukla "The court noted in the above case that:" To prove a criminal conspiracy that is punishable under S. 120-B of the IPC, to prove that there was an arrangement between two or more parties to commit an offense, there must be clear or circumstantial evidence. It means that there must be a meeting of minds leading to a final decision made by the conspirators on the commission of an offense. It is true that clear proof of an agreement to conspire would be difficult to obtain in most situations, but a plot may be inferred even from circumstances that lead to a conclusive or inevitable inference of an agreement between two or more persons to commit an offense. • Param Hans Yadav Vs Bihar State 1987 SCR (2) 405 In this case, it was established that it is difficult to support the charges of conspiracy with clear evidence the only way by which the one can prove is criminal conspiracy the prosecutor has to create the connection between the various chain events. • Hiralal Hari Lal Bhagwati vs CBI It was thought that you would first prove that there is an understanding between the parties in order to set up the charges of conspiracy. • State of Tamil Nadu vs Nalini: Frequently known as the assassination case of Rajiv Gandhi, it was held that knowledge of conspiracy does not make a conspirator a defendant. It was held that the proof that the person is in the conspiracy you have to show that there is a meeting of minds between the parties was therefore not sufficient to provide the harbor to the main defendant. Conclusion The criminal conspiracy offence is an exception to the rule of thumb that both mens rea and actus rea must be involved in order to constitute a crime, where merely a guilty mind is sufficient to make a person guilty if the arrangement was to commit an illegal act. However, if the purpose of the agreement was to do a lawful act through unlawful means, an act, or actus reus, becomes necessary again. It is possible to conclude the criminal conspiracy from the surrounding circumstances and the actions of the defendant or the convicted person. Under Section 120B of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, a person found to be guilty of criminal conspiracy is punished. Slowly, this section of the Code is losing its meaning and it is important to ensure that due diligence is preserved in cases of criminal conspiracy to spread the true embodiment of law and justice. It is important to bear in mind the well-established concept of criminal law,' fouler the crime, higher the requisite evidence' and to uphold the sanctity of the law.

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