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Conspiracy : Evidence Act

A conspiracy is entirely a secret affair. Conspiracy means few people come together to do an act with common intention. So in the same context, a criminal conspiracy is the act of at least two or more persons to do an act which is not authorised by the law i.e., an illegal act, or to do a legal act by illegal means. Criminal Conspiracy is a kind of partnership in crime, and every member of such partnership must join the partnership by mutual agreement for executing a common plan. There are two relevant provisions which deal with the criminal conspiracy i.e., Section 120(A) of the Indian Penal Code and

Section 10 of the Indian Evidence Act talks about the things said or done by a conspirator. Section 10 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, provides for the relevancy of statements made or acts done by conspirators in reference to a common design. The section provides that if there is sufficient ground to believe that two or more persons have conspired to commit an offence or an actionable wrong then anything that is done, written or said by anyone of them in pursuance of the common intention, the same is a relevant fact-

  1. Against the alleged conspirators
  2. In order to prove the existence of a conspiracy.

Essentials of Criminal Conspiracy u/s 10 of the Indian Evidence Laws

  • There should be reasonable grounds to establish a conspiracy.
  • There should be at least two or more persons to form a conspiracy.
  • There should be a common intention of all the conspirators.
  • Acts or Statement of the conspirators.
  • The acts or statements of the conspirators must be in reference to common intention. However, the expression “in reference to their common intentions used in Section 10 of the Evidence Act is very comprehensive.

Important Judgments

Bhagwan Swaroop v. State of Maharashta, AIR 1965 SC 682

In this case, the Supreme Court pointed out that the expression “in reference to common intention” has a wider scope than the expression “in furtherance of common intention” used under English Law.

State of Tamil Nadu v. Nalini, AIR 1999 SC 2640

The court held that once any of the participants of conspiracy execute the conspiracy then his statements made by him cannot be used against other conspirators according to Section 10 of the Indian Evidence Act.

Subramaniam Swamy v. A Raja, (2012) 9 SCC 257

The court in its judgments showed that anything which is doubtful cannot be considered as legal proof and such proofs are insufficient to prove any criminal conspiracy.

About the Author

  • Adv. Abhishek Gupta (Natraj Legal Solutions)
  • Delhi High Court
  • Ph: 9999052336,8700521407
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