New Delhi: Merely accompanying the main accused during an offence does not establish that the co-accused shares common criminal intention, the Delhi High Court has said.
"It is necessary that each co-perpetrator should have the necessary intent to participate or otherwise have requisite awareness or knowledge that the offence is likely in view of the common design.
"It also follows from the above that merely accompanying the principal accused does not establish common intention," a bench of justices Sanjiv Khanna and Ved Prakash Vaish said.
The observations came in a verdict by which the conviction and sentence of life imprisonment of a man for killing and attempting to murder (under section 302 and section 307 of the IPC) two policemen respectively was set aside.
The court rather convicted Mohd Saleem under mild penal section 304A (rash and negligent driving) of the IPC and awarded two years jail term.
The case pertained to an incident in which Naresh, a head constable and one of his colleagues ASI Jagpal being hit during their attempt to catch a truck, carrying illegal slaughtered beef, on the intervening night of May 14-15, 2008 here.
While Naresh succumbed to injuries, the ASI got injured in the incident and later, Mohd Saleem, who was sitting in the truck alongside driver Mohd Azim, was convicted for various offences including that of murder and attempt to murder.
The driver, being a juvenile, was tried by the Juvenile Justice Board and co-accused Saleem was held guilty for sharing common intention with the driver by ramming the truck into the police van to evade the arrest and interception of the vehicle.
"The physical presence of Mohd Saleem in the truck does
show that he had shared common intention under Section 34 IPC to commit murder or an offence under Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) IPC," the court said.
It, however, upheld Saleem`s conviction under the Delhi Agricultural Cattle Preservation Act for carrying beef. He was also held guilty for damaging the police van.
"Appellant Mohd. Saleem, as per the prosecution version, was sitting in the truck, which was being driven by a third person, Mohd Azim. Saleem and the driver were carrying cow meat and to this extent they had common intention.
"They also had common intention to evade detection and deliberately had not stopped and evaded inspection when they were directed to stop by the police officers of PCR van...There is, therefore, ample evidence and material to show that Mohd Saleem shared common intention as far as offence under Section 304A IPC is concerned, but not beyond that," the court said.