Criminal conspiracy comes under section 120A of IPC, this section says that when two or more persons agree to do, or cause to be done,
- An illegal act, or
- An act which is not illegal 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 a criminal conspiracy unless some act bedsides the agreement is done by one or more parties to such agreement in pursuance thereof.
It is immaterial whether the illegal act is the ultimate object of such agreement, or is merely incidental to the object.
For an act to be a conspiracy an agreement between two or more person’s is necessary. The agreement implies when two or persons come together with the objective of common intention and share their views, butt the plan is not put into action yet then it wouldn’t amount to criminal conspiracy.
It was held in case law of Yogesh alias sachin jagdish joshi v. state of Maharashtra. That to constitute an offence the meeting of two minds and exchange of views is necessary but it would amount to be a proof of direct evidence. The objective of conspiracy can be inferred from surroundings circumstances and conduct of accused. It is a substantive offence which means it is based on committing an offence rather than planning or mere getting into agreement to commit that offence.
In Central Bureau of investigation v. VC Shukla, it was held by supreme court that where the prosecution failed to prove that one of the two accused was a party to a criminal conspiracy, the charge of criminal conspiracy can’t stand against the other as in conspiracy there must be at least two persons.
In State of Tamil Nadu v. Nalini commonly known as Rajiv Gandhi case law it was held by supreme court that association of the accused with the main accused or even his knowledge about conspiracy wouldn’t make the accused a conspirator because agreement is the necessity offence of conspiracy.
In Mir Nagvi Askari v. CBI ruled out the if the offenders were indulged in different stage of conspiracy, they will be given punishment accordingly. It is not necessary that conspirator involve in crime from beginning to end.
It was further made clear the presence of conspirator is also not necessary at the place intended to commit an offence.
It was also made clear that if individual provide shelter to the conspirator as in the accused involved in Rajiv Gandhi case that would not be sufficient to accuse them of criminal conspiracy.
Proving the conspiracy:
It is a long controversy which is coming put from decades this debate is about the issue that the offender will never admit that he is involve in a crime unless it is proved from the direct or circumstantial evidence about his involvement in the offence. The direct evidence is very difficult to locate in matter of investigation so the investigators have to majorly depend on circumstantial evidence example fingerprints of suspect.
There is also one major point to be noted that if in some case both husband and wife are involved, they wouldn’t be termed as two conspirators but one.
Punishment under section 120 B:
- Whoever is party to a conspiracy to commit an offence punishable with death, imprisonment for life or rigorous imprisonment for a term of two years or upwards, shall, where no expense provision is made in this code for the punishment of such a conspiracy, punished in the same manner as if he had abetted such offence.
- Whoever isa party to a criminal conspiracy other than a criminal conspiracy to commit an offence punishable as aforesaid shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term not exceeding sex months or with fine or with both.
- LexisNexis Bare act 2020
- Prof. S.N. Misra IPC book 22nd Editionyh644e3w