(1) to be the proof of agreement.

(1) An agreement between two or more persons, or (2) To do or cause to be done an illegal act, or (3) To do an act which is not illegal by illegal means, or (4) An overt act done in pursuance of the conspiracy in case of (3). Thus, Section 120-A provides for two kinds of conspiracies: (1) Agreement to do or cause to be done an illegal act. In this case mere agreement is punishable. (2) Agreement to do or cause to be done an act which is not illegal by illegal means.

In this case some overt act besides the agreement should be done by one or more parties to such agreement in pursuance thereof. It will be useful to discuss them separately. (1) Agreement to do an illegal act. In this case conspiracy consists only in agreement to do or cause to be done an illegal act. The offence of criminal conspiracy under Section 120-A is a distinct offence introduced for the first time in 1913 in chapter V-A of the Penal Code. Agreement is the gist of the offence.

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There must be agreement. It is not necessary that all the conspirators must know each and every detail of the conspiracy as long as they are co-participators in the main object of the conspiracy. There need not be proof of direct meeting or combinations of the parties being brought into each other’s presence. The agreement may be inferred from circumstances raising a presumption of a common plan to carry out the unlawful design. Possessing and selling of explosive substances without a valid licence for a long time has been considered to be the proof of agreement. An agreement implies meeting of two minds with reference to a particular matter and so long as matters are discussed and views are interchanged, but the plan of action has not been settled by the concurrence of any two or more of the conspirators, the stage of criminal conspiracy would not be considered to have been reached. In a case two persons were alleged to have conspired to kill the victim. Offence was not proved against the person alleged to have actually committed murder.

The remaining accused alleged to have conspired murder could not be sentenced under Section 302 read with Section 120-B as one alone cannot conspire. It is not necessary that the agreement of conspiracy should be limited to the commission of only a single act and that it could not comprise the commission of many acts within its scope. One Brij Mohan was Up Vaid in an Ayurvedic Aushadhalaya, Jaipur. He used to facilitate making of bogus medical bills for Government servants for payment of 30% amount of the bills. One Gobind Lai, the proprietor of Ayurvedic Medical Store along with his assistant assisted the preparation of bogus bills. Brij Mohan used to prepare false outdoor patient tickets in the name of Government servants. On the basis of those tickets bogus cash memos were prepared by Gobind Lai. Narain Lai Nirala the Vaid of said Aushadhalaya used to verify such bogus cash memos to enable Government servants i.

e., so called patients to realise payments against the bogus cash memos. The whole exercise was an illegal act and it was a result of a conspiracy between Brij Mohan, Narain Lai Nirala and Govind Lai along with his assistant, hence punishable under Section 120-B. (2) Agreement to do an act by illegal means. In that case conspiracy consists in agreeing to do or cause to be done an act which is not illegal by illegal means. The term “illegal” has been defined in Section 43 of the Penal Code as follows: — “The word ‘illegal’ is applicable to everything which is an offence or which is prohibited by law, or which furnishes ground for a civil action; and a person is said to be ‘legally bound to do’ whatever it is illegal in him to omit.

” Thus, an agreement to do or cause to be done something which in itself may be indifferent or even lawful by unlawful means amounts to conspiracy in The end does not justify the means in criminal law. Therefore, to conspire to employ illegal means to achieve a legal purpose is conspiracy. When conspiracy consists in doing an act which is not illegal by illegal means some overt act on the part of the person or persons, who are party to the agreement, is necessary to constitute conspiracy. The doing of an overt act independent of the agreement, is a step further in persecution of object of the conspiracy and stamps it as criminal within the meaning of this section.

This overt act must be something distinct from that which tends to prove merely the agreement. The Explanation of the section says that it is immaterial whether the illegal act is the ultimate object of such agreement, or is merely incidental to that object. But the illegal act must have some bearing on the object of the agreement; otherwise the two cannot be connected.

A and B agree to murder C. A goes to purchase a revolver in a false name. Both are guilty because A’s illegal act, though not the murder of C in which B had conspired, is yet incidental to that object. A criminal conspiracy may persist as long as the persons constituting it continue to act in accord in furtherance of their object. Criminal conspiracy involves (i) an agreement to do, (ii) an illegal act, or (iii) by illegal means, (iv) the agreement being followed by an overt act. The offence consists in the very agreement between two or more persons to commit a criminal offence irrespective of the further consideration whether or not those offences have actually been committed. The very fact of the conspiracy constitutes the offence and it is immaterial whether anything has been done in pursuance of the unlawful agreement.

Privacy and secrecy are more characteristics of conspiracy than a loud discussion in an elevated place open to public view. To amount to the offence of criminal conspiracy an agreement must be to do that which is contrary to or forbidden by law. Being a highly technical offence, the second ingredient of this crime is essential must be strictly proved.

An agreement to effect something which in itself may be indifferent or even lawful by unlawful means amounts to conspiracy. A woman who, believing herself pregnant but actually not so conspires with other persons to administer drugs to herself, or to use instruments on herself with intent to procure abortion, is liable to be convicted of conspiracy to procure abortion. The overt act in a case of conspiracy consists in the agreement of the parties to do an unlawful act or to do a lawful act by unlawful means. This overt act here must be something distinct from that tending to prove merely the agreement. In the case of Joseph v. State of Kerala/ the appellant and other accused were charged for criminal conspiracy to the offence of dacoity. On the basis of evidence, it was proved that appellant was in conspiracy but wanted to withdraw himself before the commission of offence. In view of threatening by other member, he continued to be the member of conspiracy.

In the act of dacoity one person was killed. The appellant was held liable for dacoity not for murder. According to the definition of criminal conspiracy in Section 120-A of the I.P.

C. two or more persons must be parties to such an agreement and one person alone can never be held guilty of criminal conspiracy for the simple reason that one cannot conspire with oneself. Where, therefore, 4 named individuals were charged with having committed an offence under Section 120-B, I.P.C.

, and 3 out of those 4 were acquitted of the charge the fourth accused could not be held guilty of the offence of criminal conspiracy. One person can never be held guilty of conspiracy for the simple reason that he cannot conspire with himself. But when on the findings of the Courts below, apart from the persons placed on the trial, there was the approver who implicated himself equally with the other accused persons and number of other prosecution witnesses as having been privy to the conspiracy, one person may be convicted of the charge of conspiracy. One person cannot be convicted of the offence under Section 120-B.

In Bhagat Ram v. State of Rajasthan, the charge under Section 120-B of the Code related to conspiracy between Bhagat Ram and Ram Swaroop for extorting Rs. 2,000 as illegal gratification from Niranjan Dass, Ram Swaroop was acquitted of the charge. It was not the case of the prosecution that Bhagat Ram had conspired with some other person. It was held that the charge against Bhagat Ram for conspiracy must necessarily fall to the ground. In A jay Agrawal v. Union of India, 1993 Cr LJ the Supreme Court held that the essential ingredients of the offence of conspiracy is agreement between two or more persons. In Hiralal Bhagwati v.

CBI, New Delhi, the Supreme Court has held that to bring home charge of conspiracy within the ambit of Section 120-B of the Indian Penal Code, it is necessary to establish that there was an agreement between the parties for doing an unlawful act. Agreement is the just basis of the offence. Where the agreement is not an agreement to commit an offence, the agreement does not amount to conspiracy unless it is followed up by an overt act done by one or more persons in pursuance of such an agreement. The agreement to do an illegal act which amounts to a conspiracy will continue as long as the members of the conspiracy remain in agreement and as long as they are acting in accord and in furtherance of the object for which they entered into agreement.

Offence of conspiracy cannot survive the acquittal of alleged co-conspirators. The Supreme Court has made it clear that it is wrong to suppose that everyone of the conspirators must take active part in the commission of each and every one of the conspiratorial acts and only then the offence of conspiracy will be made out. Thus, in State of H.P. v.

Krishan Lal, the Court has observed that the offence of criminal conspiracy consists in a meeting of minds of two or more persons for agreeing to do or causing to be done an illegal act or an act by illegal means, and the performance of an act in terms thereof. If in pursuance to the criminal conspiracy the conspirators commit several offences, then all of them will be liable for the offence even if some of them had not actively participated in the commission of the offence.


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