Indian Penal Code-Sec. 34 ( Common Intention)

Indian Penal Code ( An Introduction)
Indian Penal Code with Flow Chart

IPC (Principles of Criminal Liability)

Indian Penal Code ( Sec. 1 -Sec. 5)

Chapter -2 General Explanations

Chapter – 2 IPC General Explanation (Public Servant)

Indian Penal Code (Sec. 22 – 33)

Section – 34. Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention

  • Whenever Criminal act is done by several persons,Such act is done in furtherance of the common intention of all,Then each of them is liable in the same manner as if it was done by him alone
  • This section is only a rule of evidence and does not create a substantive offence.
  • The Section recognizes the principle of Constructive vicarious liability in criminal jurisprudence.
  • It lays down a principle of joint liability in the doing of a criminal act.
  • It is not necessary that all such persons should be named and identified before the liability can be involved under this section. Killer Thiayagu v. State, AIR 2017 SC 612

Case Law

(Participation)

 Mehbub shah v King – Emperor, AIR 1945 PC 148

Barendra Kumar Ghosh v King Emperor

Pandurang v State of Hyderabad, AIR 1955 CrLJ 572.

 It is held that Common intention within the meaning of the section implies a pre – arranged plan, and to convict the accused of offence applying the section. it should be proved that the criminal act was done in concert pursuant to the pre- arranged plan. There is a difference b/w common intention & common object.


Vijendra Singh V state of UP, AIR  2017 SC 860

 Participation of several persons in some action with the common intention of committing a crime is an essential ingredient. once such participation is established,  section 34 is at once attracted. 

Virendra singh v state of MP, (2010) 8 SCC 407

The dominant feature of section 34 is the element of intention and participation in action. So this participation need not in all cases be by physical presence.

Suresh Sakharam Nangare v state of Maharashtra, 2012 (9) scale 245, (2012) 9 SCC 249

 if participation is proved and common intention is absent section 34 cannot be invoked.

Raju v state of Chhattisgarh, 2014 CrLJ 4425

 If there is no evidence of having played any part in the crime and there  is no evidence of the formation or sharing of any common intention with other accused it was not safe to Convict the Co – accused of the offence of murder with the aid of section 34 and 120B.

Common intention  and mens res

Shyam Lal Ghosh v state of WB (2012) 7 SCC 646

It needs to be clarified that the courts must keep in mind the fine distinction between “common intention” on the one hand and “mens rea” as understood in criminal jurisprudence on the other, common intention is not alike or identical to mens rea. The latter may be coincidental  with or collateral to the former but they are distinct and different.

Physical presence not Sine qua non

Shreekantiah Ramayya V state of Bombay,AIR 1955 SC 287

Physical presence at the very spot is not always necessary ingredient to attract the action. But also He need not be present in the actual room, he can, for instance, stand guard by a gate outside ready to warn his companions about any approach of danger or wait in a car  on a nearby road ready to facilitate their escape.

Raj Kishor Purohit V state of Madhya Pradesh, AIR 2017 SC 3588 

The absence of a any overt act of a assault, exhortation or possession of weapon  cannot be singularly determinative of absence of common intention.

In furtherance of common intention

 Parasa Raja Manikyala Rao V state of AP, (2003) 12 SC 306

 It indicates some kind of aid or assistance proceeding an effect in  future and any act may be regarded as done in furtherance of the ultimate felony. If it is a step intentionally taken for the purpose of effecting the felony. The Supreme Court has also construed the word “furtherance” as “advancement or promotion.

Common intention

Hanuman Prasad V state of Rajasthan, (2009) 1 SCC 507 

Common intention does not mean similar intention of several persons. But also to constitute common intention it is necessary that the intention of each one of them be known to the rest of them and shared by them.

State of AP v Sobhan Babu, 2011 (3) scale 451

The common intention can be inferred from the circumstances of the case and that the intention can be gathered from the circumstances as they arise even during an incident.

Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co Ltd v Datar Switchgerar  Limited, (2010)10 SCC 479

In order to attract Section 34 of the IPC 1860 the complaint must prima facie reflect a common prior concert or planning among all the accused 

Dev Cyrus Colabawala V state of Maharashtra, 2010 CrLJ 758 (Bom.) 

In gang rape it is not necessary that the intention should exists from the beginning. It can be developed at the last minute before the commission of the offence.

Difference Between Section 34 & Section 149

Both Section 34 and 149 inflicts vicarious liability on each person for those acts which are not necessarily done by them. But the scope and nature of operation of the offences are different.

The main differences between the two sections are as follows:

  • Section 34 does not create any specific offence but only lays down the principle of joint criminal liability. While Sec.149 creates specific offence and being a member of an unlawful assembly is itself a crime and punishable under Sec.143.
  • ‘Common intention’ used in Sec.34 is not defined anywhere in IPC. While ‘common object’ in Sec.149 one of the five ingredients is defined in Sec. 141 of IPC.
  • A prior meeting of mind and unity of intention is required in common intention and the act has been done in furtherance of the common intention of all. While a prior meeting of mind and unity of intention of the members of unlawful assembly is not required in a common object. The intention of participants may be different while common object is one. There is only need that criminal act has been done in furtherance of the common object.
  • For invoking S.34, it is sufficient that two or more persons were involved. While there should be  minimum five persons to impose Sec.149.
  • The crucial factor of Sec.34 is ‘participation’. While there is no need of active participation in Sec.149 of IPC.

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