December 26, 2023

Have you ever heard of a group of individuals being punished for a crime they planned and agreed to do but did not personally conduct? If not, you might be surprised to learn that collaborating on committing a crime is also illegal, a practice known as “criminal conspiracy.” You may now consider a criminal law legal concept that says that an individual is not punished for just intending to commit an offense until they actually carry out their plan through an overtly illegal act or omission.

A case for criminal conspiracy can be proved even in the absence of actus reus, or the physical expression of the guilty mind, if there is mens rea, or the guilty mind scheming to commit an offence.

section 120 b IPC: About

  • The punishment for the offence of “criminal conspiracy,” which is defined under the virtue of section 120a ipc is covered under Section 120B of the IPC.
  • Criminal conspiracy is defined in this section as an arrangement between two or more people to carry out an illegal conduct or to carry out a lawful act through illegal means. The participants in the conspiracy must share the same intention to carry out the unlawful act, and the agreement may be explicit or implicit.

ingredients of section 120b ipc

In order for an accused person to be punished under the virtue of Section 120B of the IPC, they must satisfy the following necessary ingredients of the criminal conspiracy offence listed in Section 120A of the IPC:

  • There must be a minimum of two conspirators participating in the criminal conspiracy. Since one cannot plot with oneself, a single individual cannot be found guilty of criminal conspiracy.
  • It is necessary for there to be a mutual agreement between two or more people to commit an illegal act or a legal act in an illegal way. Until participants come forward and form an agreement and association to violate the law of the land, their mere purpose cannot be considered a criminal conspiracy.
  • Such an agreement’s goal must be to either carry out or instigate illicit activity. Even if an offender commits an act that is not illegal but was done so by using criminal methods as defined by Section 43 of the IPC, the act is nonetheless deemed illegal. The final goal of the agreement need not be the commission of the crime. Such a commission is sufficient to qualify as a crime under the virtue of Section 120B of the IPC, even if it is just ancillary to the agreement’s goal.

Section 120 b ipc punishment

  • The offense that is the focus of the conspiracy may determine the penalty for criminal conspiracy under the virtue of Section 120B. The death penalty may also be applied to a criminal conspiracy if the offence carries a death sentence.
  • Criminal conspiracy may result in imprisonment for a period of time up to the maximum punishment allowed for the offense if the offence is punishable by life in prison or harsh imprisonment for a term of two years or more.

Is Section 120 b ipc bailable or not?

  • If an offence is classified as a criminal conspiracy under the virtue of Section 120 b of the IPC, whether or not it is bailable depends on how serious the conspiracy’s motive was. Such a crime is a bailable offense for any other conspiracy, including failed conspiracies.

section 120b ipc case laws

  • In Subramanian Swamy v A. Raja case, widely referred to as the “2G Spectrum case,” the Indian Supreme Court ruled that poor choices, inappropriate strategies, or poor administration by government officials, including ministers or the Prime Minister, shall not constitute a criminal conspiracy. Because there was insufficient evidence to establish a criminal conspiracy, the court dismissed the suit.
  • In the case of Parveen @ Sonu v the State of Haryana, there were four young boys scheming to aid the four accused individuals who were being held by the police and were on a train to appear in court. It was said that during the plan’s execution, one of them shot a police officer and another poured chili powder in his eyes. All of the defendants were found guilty by the Sessions Court. Rejecting the appeal, the Punjab and Haryana High Court affirmed the Trial Court’s conviction based only on medical reports. The Supreme Court’s current case focused solely on Parveen @ Sonu, the third accused, and the legitimacy of his conviction.

The prosecution argued that there is little evidence to support the appellant’s involvement in the plot, with the exception of hazy witness accounts. The Supreme Court cleared the appellant in its ruling, noting that the co-accused’s confessional remarks would not be admissible evidence absent corroborating evidence.

Since criminal conspiracy constitutes a serious offense, it carries harsh penalties. For a criminal conspiracy case to be established in a court of law, certain prerequisites must be met.

All assistance or opinions given without any knowledge of a conspiracy, however, will not qualify someone as a conspirator for prosecution under this clause. As a result, the court ought to take all appropriate action when reviewing the prosecution’s evidence in order to prevent unfairness and injustice toward the accused, especially the innocent.

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