SECTION 120b OF ipc

Section 120b of IPC Explanation With Case Laws Notes

Section 120B of IPC talks about the punishment for criminal conspiracy, which is defined in section 120b IPC. Both the section is about the criminal conspiracy. So here I have explained about section “120b IPC” -Nature, Scope, Difference, etc.

Section 120B- Punishment of Criminal Conspiracy.-(1) Whoever is a party to a criminal conspiracy to commit an offence punishable with death, imprisonment for life or rigorous imprisonment for a term of two years or upwards, shall, Where no express provision is made in this Code for the punishment of such a conspiracy be punished in the same manner as if he had abetted such offence.

(2) Whoever is a party to a criminal conspiracy other than a criminal conspiracy to commit an offence punishable as aforesaid shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term not exceeding six months, or with fine or with both.

SECTION 120B OF IPC EXPLANATION

For purposes of punishment, under “section 120B of IPC” divides criminal conspiracies into two classes:-

  • A party to a conspiracy to commit a serious offence, (i;e an offence punishable with imprisonment for two years or with a more severe punishment), is, in the absence of an express provision in the IPC, punished in the same manner as if he had abetted the offence.
  • Conspiracies to commit any other offence (including offence punishable only with fine) and conspiracies to commit illegal acts other than offences are subjected to a uniform punishment, namely, imprisonment for a term up to six months with or Without fine or both.

Section 120b ipc, however, is required to read With section 196 of the CrPC (Prosecution for offences against the State and for criminal conspiracy to commit such offence). It mandates court not to, Without the prior sanction of the Central Government or of the State Government, take cognisance of a criminal conspiracy to:

  1. commit an offence against State 
  2. promote communal disharmony 
  3. insult a religion 
  4. cause public mischief 

NATURE AND SCOPE OF 120b IPC

Section 120B is the punishing section for the offence of criminal conspiracy defined in 120A IPC.

To make a person liable for the offence of conspiracy, it is not necessary that the offender ought to have been present from the very beginning or even during the entire period of the conspiracy.

A conspirator may come and leave the conspiracy at any time during the pendency of the conspiracy. Any and every such conspirator will be liable for the subsequent acts of other conspirators.

section 120b ipc explanation

When the conspiracy alleged is with regard to committing a serious crime of the nature contemplated in section 120b IPC read with the proviso to s 120A IPC, then, in that event, mere proof of agreement between the accused of commission of such a crime alone is enough to bring about conviction under “section 120B of IPC” and the proof of an overt act by the accused or by any one of them would not be necessary. 

There is no requirement that each and every one of the conspirators must commit some overt act towards the fulfilment of the object of the conspiracy. Since, in most cases, a conspiracy is conceived and hatched in complete secrecy, and only in rare cases is direct evidence available, circumstantial pieces of evidence which lead to an inference that an agreement between two or more people to commit an offence may be drawn.

EFFECT OF ACQUITI’AL OF ACCUSED

Another issue normally encountered in conspiracy cases is when most co-accused ate acquitted of the charges against them. It has consistently been held that if after acquittal, only one accused remains, then in the absence of a charge that the offence was committed by the named accused persons along with other unnamed accused persons, the effect of an acquittal of all but one accused persons will result in the failure of the prosecution case itself. One person can never be held guilty of conspiracy for the simple reason that one cannot conspire with oneself.

Thus, in BH Narasimba vs Government of Andhra Pradesh, since the other seven co-accused were acquitted and there was no allegation that there were other unnamed persons also involved in the conspiracy, the accused had to be acquitted.

FRAMING OF CHARGE

A question that may be reasonably asked is as to the nature of charge that should be pressed against an accused When the offences the offender is alleged to have committed consist both of conspiracy as also contains elements of abetment, apart from Other distinct offences.

When a conspiracy is alleged, and the offenders are alleged to have committed a number of distinct offences in pursuance of the conspiracy, then it is open for the prosecution to separately charge a person With both the distinct offence of conspiracy under section 120b of IPC, as also the distinct offences alleged to have been committed by them. If the alleged offences are said to have flown out of the conspiracy, the appropriate form of charge would be a specific charge in respect of each of those offences along with the charge of conspiracy.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SECTION 120B AND SECTION 107, INDIAN PENAL CODE 1860

One of the important difference between section 107 Secondly providing for the offence of abetment by conspiracy, and section 120A and 120B is that while the former is punishable only if some act or illegal omission in pursuance of that conspiracy has been committed beside the agreement itself, the latter sections make the agreement (to commit an offence) itself an offence.

The essence of the offence of criminal conspiracy is a bare agreement to commit the offence, whereas the abetment of conspiracy requires the commission of an act or illegal omission pursuant to the conspiracy.

Further, criminal conspiracy defined in s 120A is wider than abetment by conspiracy articulated in s 107 Secondly. The former covers not only an agreement to commit an offence but also an agreement to commit an illegal act and an act, which is not illegal by illegal means. Thus, the introduction of 120A and 120B IPC by way of an amendment to the original IPC in the year 1913, seems to have been to fill up a vital gap in the law, and to expand the law of conspiracy beyond the provisions of abetment by conspiracy provided in the second clause of s 107, IPC.

Thus, while section 120A provides an extended definition of criminal conspiracy covering acts which do not amount to abetment by conspiracy falling under section 107 and Section 20B provides punishment for criminal conspiracy, where no express provision is made in the IPC for the punishment of such a conspiracy.

punishment for criminal conspiracy

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