- Definition of Criminal Conspiracy under section 120A-The criminal conspiracy as it now stands is the agreement of two or more persons to do an illegal act or to do legal act by illegal means .A joint evil intent is necessary to constitute crime .No physical action need to take place .No consummation of crime need to be achieved or even attempted .
- Ingredients under section 120A –There should be an agreement between two or more person who are alleged to conspire. –The agreement should be to do or cause to be done an illegal act or an act which may not itself be illegal by illegal means.
- Nature and scope of section 120A –
-The presence of the agreement itself between two or more persons to carry out a crime gives orgin to the offence irrespective such act has been committed or not.
-Meeting of minds is required for commission of crime .
-The section does not state that for conspiracy to be committed the conspirators must agree to commit an illegal act rather the conviction of the individuals is established when they agree to be a part of one of such illegal acts .
-In case Mohd Hussain Umar Kochra Vs KS Dalip Singhji The Apex Court has elucidated on the part played by each member in a conspiracy
Commission of conspiracy might not exist when different persons act in the same manner but independently just because of the fact the methods they applied were similar for committing the illegal act.
Every individual who has participated in the commission of a crime in furtherance of a conspiracy id guilty for all the acts of its conspirators if they were directed towards accomplishing a single object.
- Proof of conspiracy –It is very difficult to provide primary evidence for providing a charge of conspiracy. Further “A mere suspicion without the presence of any direct or indirect evidence instituting the prior meeting of minds , cannot be the grounds for conviction” was held PK Naryana Vs State of Kerela
Certain conditions as provided in section 10 of the Indian Evidence Act ,1872 that is required to be proof –
-The involvement of the parties forming an agreement must be proved by prima facie evidence .
-If this is satisfied than anything written , done or said in furtherance of the common intention will be evidence against all the parties.
-Anything done ,written or said by any of the conspirators post the formation of common intention by any of the parties would be admissible. This is the principle of collective liability which has been discussed under section 34 of the IPC.
-In case Sachin Jena and Another Vs State of west Bengal-The supreme court recognised that direct evidence of common intention is rarely available and therefore is to be inferred from the proven facts /circumstances of the case .Circumstantial evidence can be used to ascertain the guilt of the accused and to proof common intention.
- Punishment of criminal conspiracy under section 120B of IPC-
Section 120-B prescribes the punishment for the commission of the crime of criminal conspiracy. According to Section 120-B, if the parties involved in the conspiracy, conspired to commit an offence punishable with death, imprisonment for life or rigorous imprisonment for a term of two years or more, shall be punishable in the same manner as if he/she had abetted the commission of such an offence, if no explicit punishment for the commission of such a conspiracy has been provided for, by the Code.
However, if the parties involved in the conspiracy, conspired to commit an offence punishable with terms not prescribed previously, such persons shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or a fine, or both.