SC`s ruling on conviction for "common intention"
  • This Section
  • Latest
  • Web Wrap
Last Updated: Wednesday, August 11, 2010, 22:55
New Delhi: The Supreme Court has held that a person can be convicted for murder even if he/she is merely standing with the other accused to prevent any assistance to the victim.

"The acts committed by different confederates in the criminal action may be different but all must in one way or the other participate and engage in the criminal enterprise. Even a person not doing any particular act but only standing guard to prevent any prospective aid to the victims may be guilty of common intention.

"However, it is essential that in case of an offence involving physical violence it is essential for the application of Section 34 (Common Intention) that such accused must be physically present at the actual commission of crime for the purposes of facilitating accomplishment of "criminal act" as mentioned in that section," the apex court said in a judgement.

The apex court passed the ruling while dismissing the appeal of Virendra Singh, who challenged his life imprisonment in a murder case on the ground that he did not attack the victim and that the actual killing was done by the co-accused.

He was earlier sentenced to life imprisonment along with two others by a sessions court in Madhya Pradesh and the sentence was confirmed by the High Court.

Upholding the conviction, the apex court said under Section 34 of the IPC, the persons who are connected with the preparation of a crime are divided into two categories: (1) those who actually commit the crime, i.e. principals in the first degree; and (b) those who aid in the actual commission, i.e. principals in the second degree.

"Law does not make any distinction with regard to the punishment of such persons, all being liable to be punished alike.

"Under the Indian Penal Code, a person is responsible for his own act. A person can also be vicariously responsible for the acts of others if he had a common intention to commit the acts or if the offence is committed by any member of the unlawful assembly in prosecution of the common object of that assembly, then also he can be vicariously responsible," the Bench said.

According to the apex court, the common intention postulates the existence of a pre-arranged plan implying a prior meeting of the minds.

"It is the intention to commit the crime and the accused can be convicted only if such an intention has been shared by all the accused," the Bench added.


First Published: Wednesday, August 11, 2010, 22:55

comments powered by Disqus