UPSC LAW OPTIONAL MAINS NOTES | JOINT AND CONSTRUCTIVE LIABILITY UNDER IPC



LAWXPERTSMV.                                                                                                #REVISION NOTES


Joint and Construtive Liability : Section 34 and 149.

JOINT LIABILITY UNDER SECTION 34, I.P.C.



WHAT SECTION SAYS ? |  Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention.—When a criminal act is done by several persons in furtherance of the common intention of all, each of such persons is liable for that act in the same manner as if it were done by him alone.


Section broken into essentials


RATIONALE | Section 34 is an interpretative provision which lays down the common-sense principle that if two or more persons do a thing jointly it is just the same as if each of them had done it individually.

COLONIAL LEGACY ! Reg. v. Cruse  in which a constable was beaten up by a few people when he had gone to arrest one of their friends. It was held that each person was equally responsible for the attack whether he actually struck the constable or not.


SECTION 34 BROKEN INTO ELEMENTS


FIRST ELEMENT : A criminal act must be done by several persons :

The act in S. 34 includes series of previous acts as a single act in order to determine the criminal intention of the participants.


SECOND ELEMENT : COMMON INTENTION :

Beginning with the decision of the Privy Council in Mahboob Shah v. Emperor considerable emphasis is laid on proof of a prearranged plan or premeditated concert as being necessary to infer a common intention under S. 34.


SOLUTION : Nevertheless, it has also been pointed out that a common intention may arise in the course of the act and not necessarily exist before the act.  It may develop on the spot.


In Amrik Singh v. State of Punjab : the court has also opined that for establishing common intention in every case it is not required for the prosecution to prove a pre-arranged plot or prior concert.


Likewise it is observed "what is meant by common intention is the community of purpose or common design or common intent....”

The section does not say "the common intention of all", nor does it say "and intention common to all".


STEP 1 :  Finding intention common to all.


STEP 2  : Having ascertained the common intention in the above sense from the conduct of all the parties, the next step taken is to find out whether the particular offence committed is in furtherance of the common intention.


STEP 3: Something done by a member of the group on his own initiative - a fresh and independent product of the mind of the wrongdoer.


STEP 4 :To analyse facts carefully and to examine the inter-connection between them in order to find out as to what was done in furtherance of the common intention and what was not done in furtherance of it.


FINDING MENS REA IN ONE PERSON = IMPUTED TO ALL. To determine what offence is actually committed, a further investigation of the mens rea of the person committing the particular act or acts is necessary, but this mens rea need not be shared by others, as it is automatically imputed to them.

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