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SC: Common Intention in S. 34 IPC doesn't require prior agreement, can form minutes before incident

SC: Common Intention in S. 34 IPC doesn't require prior agreement, can form minutes before incident

In a recent judgment, the Supreme Court of India has delivered crucial insights into the interpretation of Section 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The ruling underscores the significance of a collective purpose and shared design among co-accused individuals for the application of Section 34. Notably, the court highlights that common intention need not be explicitly discussed or agreed upon; rather, it is a psychological element that can emerge before or during the commission of the offense.

The Supreme Court bench, comprising Justices Abhay S. Oka and Pankaj Mithal, examined an appeal challenging the Allahabad High Court's decision, which upheld the conviction of four accused individuals in a murder case under Section 302 read with Section 34 of the IPC.

The case, dated October 18, 1982, involved a group of armed individuals brutally attacking two victims, resulting in one fatality. The accused faced charges under Section 302/34 of the IPC, related to murder and common intention.

The court's scrutiny focused on determining whether the appellant and co-accused individuals shared the intention to cause the victim's death. Rejecting the appellant's reliance on the case of Krishnamurthy alias Gunodu v. the State of Karnataka, the court emphasized that the evidence favored the prosecution. The collective assault by the armed accused upon arrival supported the inference of a shared intention.

The court also dismissed the appellant's reference to the case of Jasdeep Singh alias Jassu v. the State of Punjab, asserting that mere common intention might not always invoke Section 34 of the IPC. However, in this instance, the evidence distinctly showcased the appellant's direct involvement in the assault, strengthening the conclusion that he harbored a shared intention to inflict harm.

As a result of the Supreme Court's analysis, the appeal was rejected. The ruling provides crucial guidance on the application of Section 34 of the IPC, stressing the necessity of a shared purpose and design among co-accused individuals, even in the absence of explicit discussions or premeditated agreements. This decision underscores the importance of evaluating the specific circumstances of each case to ascertain the existence of common intention under the IPC.

Case: Ram Naresh vs. State of U.P, 

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 3577 OF 2023.

Click here to read/download judgment.

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