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  • Writer's pictureREET PARIHAR

Criminal Conspiracy

Updated: Jul 19, 2022

By: Shivani Bharti, 2nd year ( B.Com.LL.B), Banasthali Vidyapith University


[1]When two or more persons agree, expressly or implicitly, to commit an illegal act through illegal methods, this is referred to as criminal conspiracy. In other words, when two or more people agree to do a crime, they are guilty of criminal conspiracy. It is a crime in which only one person is involved, yet two or more are required because a single person cannot conspire.

The Indian Penal Code, 1860, contains criminal conspiracy in Chapter II-A, Sections 120A and 120B.

• The definition of criminal conspiracy is discussed in Section 120A.

• Section 120B discusses the penalty for criminal conspiracy.

[2]When two or more people agree to perform or have done any illegal act, according to section 120A of the IPC. They are considered to have committed a Criminal Conspiracy when they do something legitimate using criminal methods.

A criminal conspiracy entails not only an agreement or meeting of minds between two or more people but also the actual performance of an illegal act through illegal methods. It indicates that mere agreement or intent is insufficient to hold someone accountable for criminal conspiracy unless they have committed an unlawful or illegal act through unlawful or illegal means.

There must be an explicit or implicit agreement. And no proof of a direct meeting or contact is required for this. Passive conspiracy awareness is insufficient. Active collaboration is required. To put it another way, joint bad intent is required.

Essential Ingredients of criminal conspiracy. Section 120A IPC The essentials are outlined as: -

1) There must be an agreement between two or more people: - If the conspirators commit many crimes by the criminal conspiracy, all of them are accountable, even if some of them did not actively participate in the crimes.

2) An agreement like this should be made - (a) to commit an illegal act. To make someone accountable for criminal conspiracy, the agreement must be to do something that is either illegal or against the law. OR, when any act is done, (b) to do a legal act by criminal methods. It is a criminal conspiracy if it is legal but carried out illegally.

For example -[3] Assume Sam and Sid decide to assassinate Bella. They plan ahead of time to ambush Bella after work in a parking area and stab her to death. Whether they complete the crime or not, they are guilty of a murder conspiracy. If, on the other hand, their effort was a spur-of-the-moment decision rather than the result of prior deliberation, and Bella survived the assault, they would be charged with attempted murder but not with murder conspiracy. If they succeed in the latter case, they will be charged with murder rather than attempted murder.

Case Law: - [4]Bimbdhar Pradhan vs. State of Orissa, 1956,

The Supreme Court ruled that a single individual could be found guilty of conspiracy. The court just needs to show that two or more people were involved in the criminal conspiracy. Even if the prosecution establishes that two or more people were involved in a plot and were not apprehended, one individual can still be found guilty. Previously, a single person might be held responsible for criminal conspiracy. In future situations, however, this rule was changed.

Conclusion - [5]Criminal conspiracy is an unfinished offence in and of itself, requiring a meeting of the criminal mind as well as a substantive offence to facilitate it. At least two persons are required for creating liability under section 120B of the IPC, and each person who participated in the agreement shall be equally liable for each other's actions. This was expressly intended to generate liability for a person who instigated the offence committed. More involvement in an illegal act is a crime. It is not sufficient for an act to be committed." The act must be illegal or carried out illegally. The liability stems from an illegal contract.

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