Section 34 Common Intention under Indian Penal Code

February 7, 2023

Barendra Kumar Ghosh v. King Emperor (1925)

JUDGEMENT: Barendra Kumar Ghosh v. King Emperor, AIR 1925 PC 1. Also known as the “Post Master Case”

The accused Barendra with other three persons went to Shankaritola post office at about 3.30 pm on the 3rd August 1923 armed with firearms. The accused stood outside the post office while the other three entered the post office through the backdoor of office. They asked post master Amrita Lal Roy to give the money which he was counting. When he refused, then others three opened fire from the pistol and fled from the place.

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As a result of which he died almost immediately. Seeing others running the accused also ran away by air firing with his pistol. But he was chased and caught by the post office assistant. He was charged with others under S.302 (murder to post master) and S.394 (causing hurt in doing robbery) with S.34 in common intention of all. He contended that he was only standing guard outside the post office and he did not have the intention to kill the post master. Calcutta High Court confirmed his conviction of murder under S.302 with S.34. In the appeal before the Privy Council, Lord Sumner dismissed the appeal against the conviction and held that – “criminal acts means that unity of criminal behaviour which results in something for which an individual would be responsible, if it were all done by himself alone, that is, in criminal offence.”

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