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Acquittal Of One Of The Co-Accused, Effect On Conjoint Liability Of Other Accused

In the case of Suresh and another vs State of U.P, a three Judge Bench of Supreme Court whole considering the scope of section 34, referred to and related upon the ratio in Mohan Singh ( supra) and further held that a reference to Section s 35,37 and 38 of the code is of relevance for understanding the purport of section 34. Justice Thomas in Suresh (supra) opined that these four provision s belong to one cognate group.

In Suresh (supra), Justice Thomas held that to attract section 34, IPC two conditions must be present,i e the criminal act ( consisting of a series of acts) should have been done,not by one person, put by more than one person (2) doing of every such individual act cumulatively resulting in the commission of criminal offence should have been in furtherance of the common intention of all such person s.

In Suresh (supra) Justice Seth,in a concurring but a different opinion, held that the dominant feature for attracting Section 34 of the Code is the element of participation resulting in the ultimate criminal act. The act referred to in the later part of section 34 means the ultimate criminal act with which the accused is charged of sharing the common intention.

The accused is, therefore made responsible for the ultimate criminal act done by several persons in furtherance of the common intention of all of them . The section does not envisage separate act of all the accused person for becoming responsible for the ultimate criminal act.

According to the learned judge the word act used in Section 34 denotes a series of acts as a single act and learned judge further made it clear that the culpability u/s 34 can not be excluded by mere distance from the scene of occurrence.

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