Section 34 ICC: A prior agreement and a prearranged plan must be established for a conviction invoking a “common intention”: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court observed that the existence of a prior concert and a prearranged plan must be established to convict the accused by invoking Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code.

In this case, the appellant was concurrently convicted under Section 302 read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code. According to the prosecution, an Arjun stabbed the deceased with his knife and the appellant was also involved in this crime when he brandished his knife and threatened to assault a person who accompanied the deceased.

Before the Apex Court, the appellant argued that IPC Section 34 was not invoked in this case because the prior concert and prearranged plan to kill the deceased was not established. He maintains that the only manifest act of which the appellant is accused is having brandished a knife and threatening to attack the victim. The state, on the other hand, argued that there was a convergence of views and prior agreement on the part of the appellant and Arjun.

Referring to the evidence in the record, the panel noted that the prosecution failed to interview two crucial witnesses who, in addition to being eyewitnesses, were seated with the appellant just prior to the incident near the location of the incident.

“The prosecution did not explain that it had not interviewed these two crucial witnesses who, in addition to being eyewitnesses, were seated with the appellant and Arjun just before the incident near the scene of the shooting. incident. The prosecution withheld evidence from two important witnesses who may have shed light on the incident. Therefore, this is case 8 to draw an adverse inference against the prosecution. , the knife allegedly used by the caller was not recovered. According to the prosecution, the caller asked the deceased why he had beaten Subhas Chandra, the caller’s older brother. After that, there There was an exchange of words. The exchange of blows took place between the deceased and Arjun. The fight took place between the deceased and Arjun. In the end, it was Arjun who stabbed the deceased.ed,” observed the bench.

Referring to Article 34 of the IPC, the panel, while allowing the appeal, observed:

The common intention envisaged by article 34 of the CPI presupposes prior agreement. It requires a meeting of minds. It takes a prearranged plan before a man can be convicted by proxy for the criminal act of another. The criminal act must have been committed in pursuit of the common intention of all the accused. In a given case, the plan may be formed suddenly. In the present case, the non-examination of two crucial eyewitnesses renders the prosecution’s case as to the existence of a prior concert and a pre-arranged plan extremely doubtful.

Summaries

Indian Penal Code, 1860; Section 34 – The common intention presupposes a prior agreement. It requires a meeting of minds, a prearranged plan before one man can be convicted by proxy for another’s criminal act. The criminal act must have been committed in pursuit of the common intention of all the accused. In a given case, the plan may be formed suddenly. (Paragraph 9)

Summary: Appeal against the concurrent conviction of the appellant invoking Article 34 of the ICC – Admitted – The prosecution failed to prove the ingredients of Article 34 of the ICC in this case – the non-examination of two crucial eyewitnesses makes the accusation based on the existence of a prior concert and prearranged plan extremely dubious.

Case details

Gadadhar Chandra vs. West Bengal State | 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 287 | Cra 1661 OF 2009 | March 15, 2022

Coram: Judges Ajay Rastogi and Abhay S. Oka

Counsel: Sr. Adv Siddhartha Dave for the Appellant, Adv Nikhil Parikshith for the Respondent State