SC Explains Criminal Conspiracy – Section 120-A, IPC

I am getting ready to start my fight against my ex-wife. Section 120-A, IPC is one of the many cases she will face.

Section 120-A of the I.P.C. defines ‘conspiracy’ to mean that when two or more persons agree to do, or cause to be done an illegal act, or an act which is not illegal by illegal means, such an agreement is designated as “criminal conspiracy.

No agreement except an agreement to commit an offence shall amount to a criminal conspiracy, unless some act besides the agreement is done by one or more parties to such agreement in furtherance thereof.

Section 120-B of the I.P.C. prescribes punishment for criminal conspiracy. It is not necessary that each conspirator must know all the details of the scheme nor be a participant at every stage. It is necessary that they should agree for design or object of the conspiracy. Conspiracy is conceived as having three elements:

(1)   agreement

(2)   between two or more persons by whom the agreement is effected; and

(3)   a criminal object, which may be either the ultimate aim of the agreement, or may constitute the means, or one of the means by which that aim is to be accomplished.

It is immaterial whether this is found in the ultimate objects. The common law definition of ‘criminal conspiracy’ was stated first by Lord Denman in Jones’ case (1832 B & AD 345) that an indictment for conspiracy must “charge a conspiracy to do an unlawful act by unlawful means” and was elaborated by Willies, J. on behalf of the Judges while referring the question to the House of Lords in Mulcahy v. Reg (1868) L.R. 3 H.L. 306 and the House of Lords in unanimous decision reiterated in Quinn v. Leathem 1901 AC 495 at 528 as under:

“A conspiracy consists not merely in the intention of two or more, but in the agreement of two or more to do an unlawful act, or to do a lawful act by unlawful means. So long as such a design rests in intention only it is not indictable. When two agree to carry it into effect, the very plot is an act in itself, and the act of each of the parties, promise against promise, actus contra actum, capable of being enforced, if lawful, punishable of for a criminal object or for the use of criminal means. (emphasis supplied)”

The rest of this case can be read from here: … name=31538



10 Responses to “SC Explains Criminal Conspiracy – Section 120-A, IPC”

  1. 1 Carlisle Collins July 18, 2009 at 10:57 pm

    Lord have mercy! If the Chief Judicial Magistrate Navsari has a problem understanding the unambiguous provisions of IPC Section 4 and 188 CrPC, can you imagine what the other jokers are like? And how many hapless bastards have they rectally blessed with a judicial gavel suppository that couldn’t afford to move the Supreme Court to read, translate, and explain the simple, straightforward law to those empowered to make critical decisions on our freedom? This doesn’t say much for our (cess-)pool of mentally challenged lawyers either! Regardless, there are citizen profiteers who’d view this decision as treasonous! Don’t you realize this might put a firm stop to a thus far lucrative National Cottage Industry, viz. Exploitation and blackmail of NRI’s and Foreigners? Isn’t it unpatriotic to interfere in Free Enterprise (and freeloading)? But I’m sure, given a little time, our resourceful, tenacious, “Aggrieved” Housewives Club could work up an alternate Plan of Action with our police entrepreneurship and it’ll be business as usual! See? YOU CAN’T KEEP A GOOD GAL DOWN (but it’s fun trying!).


  2. 4 tarooin February 5, 2011 at 5:30 am

    yes i thoroughly agree with u


  3. 5 hafiz June 20, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    some person are committed to evacuate a widow in my village she holds some eight kannals of land, the conspirators are pressing and harassing her by making false cases against her, she has no means of livelyhood except that eight kannal govt. Land on which she is dependent. The other party are also in posession of govt. Land , but they threaten her of dire cosiquences ,earlier she was defamed by filing a false case against her in police, which was not proven. Every now and then she is being harassed by making false allegations against her in revenue deptt. Or any other agecy. What can she do ?


  4. 6 sahil October 12, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    if a person is not present in an unlawful act but he merely knew about the act….can it be said as conspiracy????
    plz any one reply its a question of on some1s life


    • 7 Adv. Harshbir November 11, 2012 at 12:36 am

      @sahil… Criminal conspiracy as defined in the ipc sec 120A requires that two or more persons agree to do or cause to do… The word agree in itself Is sufficient to show that this is not a mere knowledge of what is the other going to do but what is required is the common intention of both the parties(i.e previous meeting of minds) mere knowledge on the part of some other person that the other is going to commit an illegal act is not sufficient to make him liable to the offense of criminal conspiracy. Take example of jessica lal murder case in this case Manu sharma shot dead Jessica lal but his friends were having the knowledge when they were returning to the bar after trying elsewhere for liquor that Manu is going to commit the illegal act… In this case they were convicted just for destroying evidence because the prosecution fail to prove any agreement between them.
      So mere knowledge will not be enough. Agreement is the gist of this offense. But person may be convicted of other offenses as not informing of the cognizable offence is going to be committed. If you want more on criminal conspiracy I will suggest u that plz read nalini v state( Rajiv Gandhi assassination case)


      • 8 Amar Pandey September 2, 2016 at 5:44 pm

        Sir, I want some more information on the concept of criminal conspiracy, is this section different from Section 34 and Section 149 of IPC ?


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In 1930, the British govt arrested 17,000 women for their involvement in the Dandi Yatra (Salt March). During 1937 to 1947 (10 Years), they arrested 5,000 women involved in the freedom struggle. From 2004 to 2006, the govt of India arrested 90,000 women of all ages under 498A. On the average, 27,000 women per year are being arrested under this flawed law. These are stats from the NCRB.

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The family of the writer was tortured by the Indian Police in an attempt to extort over a $100,000 by holding them in custody for over a week. The police, in cahoots with the magistrate and the PP, did this due to the ridiculous allegations made in a 498A case by his embittered ex-wife. She filed the case years after he and his family had last seen her. Thousands of 498A cases are filed each year in India by women seeking to wreak vengeance on their husbands and in-laws. Enormous sums are extorted from intimidated families implicated in these cases by corrupt Indian police officers and elements of the Indian judiciary. The author and his family haven't bribed any public official nor have they given in to the extortion. This blog aims to raise awareness of due process in India. The content of this blog constitutes, opinions, observations, and publicly available documents. The intent is not to slander or defame anyone or any institution and is the manifestation of the author's right to freedom of expression – with all the protections this right guarantees.

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