Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention. When a criminal act is done by several persons in furtherance of the common intention of all, each of such persons is liable for that act in the same manner as if it were done by him alone.]
Section 34 of the I.P.C.,1860, states that - where an act is done by several persons in furtherance of common intention of all, each of them would be liable for that act in the same manner as it is done by him alone.
Constructive liability in IPC is the principle under which a person may be held liable for the consequences of another person's conduct, even if they did not actively participate in the act.
Section 154 says If such occupier or owner or any person who has some interest in the piece of land does not inform the proper public authority about unlawful assembly on that land, will also be held liable for such activities.
Common Intention and Common Object
Section 34 - Common Intention
When a number of persons engaged in a criminal act with a common intention, each person is made liable as if he alone did the act.
Section 149 - Common Object
Every member of an unlawful assembly is held liable for any criminal act done in furtherance of a common object.
Barendra Kumar Ghosh vs. King Emperor (Post master Case) AIR 1925 PC 1
Highest degree of Mens Rea
(Higher culpability than knowledge, Rashness, negligence)
The term 'intention' is not defined in Indian Penal Code but section 34 of IPC deals with common intention.
'Section 34-Acts done by several persons...'
'Acts' also includes 'omissions' (Section 32)
'Acts' and omission also include 'series of acts' or 'series of omissions' (Section 33)
Common intention means that there was a pre-arranged plan, and all of the individuals are acting in furtherance of that plan.
Act Done in Furtherance of Common intention.
The liability would be there also for the Act done in furtherance for the decided Act (Common Intention)
Shankar Lal Vs. State of Gujarat. (AIR 1965 SC 1260)
On Spot meeting of minds
The pre-arranged plan may develop on spot between people but there should be clear and unimpeachable evidence for that inference.
-Krishna Govind v. State of Maharashtra (AIR 1963 SC 1413)
The intention could be similar but it is not common intention under Section 34 if pre-meeting of minds can't be proved.
Pandurang v. State of Hyderabad (AIR 1955 SC 216)
Pointers about common intention
Premeditation of minds is necessary. ✓
The common intention may develop at the spur of the moment but should be shared among each other.
Common intention can only be proved by facts and circumstances of the case.
Common intention is not similar intention.
Benefit of doubt shall be given to accused. And if common intention is not there Section 38 shall apply.
Section 38 - Persons concerned in criminal act may be guilty of different offences.
Where several persons are engaged or concerned in the commission of a criminal act, they may be guilty of different offences by means of that act.
Chapter VIII of IPC-Offences Against Public Tranquility.
Section 141 Defines Unlawful Assembly = 5 or more people plus common object of:
To overawe by criminal force, or show of criminal force, the Central or any State Government or Parliament or the Legislature of any State, or any public servant in the exercise of the lawful power of such public servant; or
To resist the execution of any law, or of any legal process; or
To commit any mischief or criminal trespass, or other offence; or
By means of criminal force, or show of criminal force, to any person, to take or obtain possession of any property, or to deprive any person of the enjoyment of a right of way, or of the use of water or other incorporeal right of which he is in possession or enjoyment, or to enforce any right or supposed right; or
By means of criminal force, or show of criminal force, to compel any person to do what he is not legally bound to do, or to omit to do what he is legally entitled to do.
Ingredients of unlawful assembly
Assembly of five or more persons
Common object for them (Can form at any stage)
Common object must
be out of the five mentioned in section 141
Assembly of five or more persons
An assembly which was not unlawful when it assembled may
subsequently become unlawful, pre concert of minds not required.
Moti Das v. Bihar ((1954) Cr LJ 1708 (SC))
If the number of persons is reduced to less than 5 in trial
S.141 becomes inapplicable.
Common Intention vs. Common Object
Section 34 does not create an offense in itself, only lays down the
principle of joint liability
Common Intention under Section 34 not defined anywhere in IPC
Prior meeting of minds necessary for Common Intention
Applicable when two or more persons are involved
Participation is a crucial aspect
Section 149 creates an offense in itself i.e. Being a member of the
unlawful assembly which is punishable under Section 143
Common Object must be one of the five ingredients defined under Section
Common Object may be formed without a prior meeting of the mind.