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Criminal conspiracy

Criminal conspiracy one of the most discussed topic in the legal field. In this article, we will try to analyze the criminal conspiracy in-depth also try to discuss every possible question that arises in the mind of a person while reading this article. A criminal conspiracy was discussed in section 120 –A of IPC punishment for the same was given under section 120 –B

Definition
Criminal conspiracy according to section 120 –A of IPC is as follow:
When two or more person agrees to do or cause to be done,

  1. An illegal act or
  2. An act which is not illegal but by illegal means, such an agreement is designated a criminal conspiracy

Provided that no agreement except an agreement to commit an offence shall amount to criminal conspiracy Unless some act is done by the person in pursuance of that agreement.

Explanation:
It is immaterial whether the illegal act is ultimate or incidental
Now to understand the statutory meaning of criminal conspiracy in a better way we have to highlight some of the important pointers from it so that it may become easy to understand it.

Essential Elements:
In the above mention paragraph, we have highlighted some of the pointers and in this paragraph, we will discuss those pointers in brief because they are essential elements of criminal conspiracy.

Two or more person:
One of the most important thing in the criminal conspiracy is that there has to be two or more person because as we all know that one cannot conspire about the things to himself there has to be two or more person to conspired about something. It was held in the state of H.P vs Krishan lal that the criminal conspiracy consists in a meeting of minds of two or more person for agreeing to do or causing to done an illegal act or an act which is not illegal but by illegal means.

Can there is the conviction of one only
Now the question is what if only one out of two or three convicts is caught can the court make them punished for criminal conspiracy because as we know that It is mandatory to have minimum two-person, at first there is the rule that there is no punishment if only one convict is found but later in case of Bimbdhar pradhan vs. state of Orissa it was held that court can convict only one person based on sufficient evidence of the criminal conspiracy.

Point to be noted is that if in pursuance of crime there are several small crimes committed than all of them will be convicted for the same

Illegal act:
To constitute the offence under this section there must be an agreement to do an act which is contrary to or forbidden by law. It may be noted that it is illegal to conspire with another an act which may not crime if done alone. The main motive of this section is to make even the basic stage of a crime punishable.

Illegal means:

Also, the agreement to do an act which may not be illegal but the means to do an act is unlawful is punishable under this section. The end does not justify the means, for e.g if a man wants to marry a girl but to marry her he tries to abduct the girl forcefully here the motive of the man is legal but the way or means to commit an act make it punishable.

Over act:
To understand the word over act first we have to analyze section 43 & 120 -A. The word “illegal” applies to everything which is an offence or which is prohib­ited by law, or which furnishes ground for a civil action.

Now it is given under section 120:

A that no agreement except an agreement to commit an offence is punishable under this section Therefore only agreement to commit an offence is a crime itself but if there is an agreement for any of other two than overact is needed to make that agreement punishable under this section. In short to make any conspiracy a crime you need an agreement to commit an offence but if there is any other agreement then there have to be some overact in pursuance of that.

It was held in Rajaram Gupta vs Dharam Chand that the overact constituting a conspiracy are acts either:

  • Signifying the agreement
  • Preparatory to the offence
  • Also, the act constitutes the offence.


How to prove the conspiracy:

It was believed that agreement or meeting of minds is the one of the main evidence to prove the conspiracy under this section & also it is one of the hardest one to prove because as we all known to the fact that offender by himself does not agree to a fact that he is involved with someone It is only matter of circumstances that one can prove that there is a meeting of minds or an agreement between those two, In short, we can say that criminal conspiracy is based on circumstantial evidence in most of the cases there is no direct evidence to prove the same.
Also, point to be noted that there is no conspiracy between husband & wife because they are considered as the one person.

Sting operation as an evidence of a conspiracy:

There is long going Controversy related admissibility of a sting operation as evidence the general question which arises in acceptance of a sting operation is whether it is a public interest motivated or self-motivated because it was believed that self-motivated sting operations are not allowed the supreme court shed the light on this controversy in which they held that it was on the court to decide whether the sting operation was self-motivated or in public interest after the full-fledged trial.

Difference between sec 120 –A & 107:

The one of the main difference between section 120- a and 107 Is that in section 120:
a there is an act of planning to do an illegal act in the other hand in section 107 there is no act but there was an instigation to commit an offence or to provide the help to an instigated person.

Punishment Under Section 120-B

Now let us discuss the punishment of criminal conspiracy under section 120 –B. There was nothing like to discuss in this topic it is given in very easy words that when there is a conspiracy related to an offence punishable with death, imprisonment for life & a rigorous punishment for two years also there shall be no express provision about its punishment mention in this code in those circumstances offender were treated as like they abetted the same offence on the other hand in para 2 it covers all the conspiracy other than a mention in para 1 all conspiracies that are cover in para2 shall be punishable with imprisonment of six months or with fine.

Some Important Case Law –
Param Hans Yadav Vs State Of Bihar
Equivalent citations: 1987 AIR 955, 1987 SCR (2) 405
In this case, it was observed that it is difficult to support the charges of conspiracy with direct evidence the only way by which the one can prove is criminal conspiracy the prosecution has to establish the link between the different chain events.

Hiralal harilal bhagwati vs CBI
It was believed that to set up the charges of conspiracy first you have to establish that there is an agreement between the parties.

State of Tamil Nadu vs Nalini:
Commonly known as the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, It was held that knowledge about conspiracy would not make an accused a conspirator. It was held that also to provide the harbour to the main accused didn’t show the sufficient evidence that person is in the conspiracy you have to prove that there is a meeting of minds between the parties.     

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