Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Supreme Court: No law that person accompanying principal culprit for minor offence shares common intention for the major offence committed by him

It may be that when some persons start with a pre-arranged plan to commit a minor offence, they may in the course of their committing the minor offence come to an understanding to commit the major offence as well. Such an understanding may appear from the conduct of the persons sought to be made vicariously liable for the act of the principal culprit or from some other incriminatory evidence but the conduct or other evidence must be such as not to leave any room for doubt in that behalf. 15. A criminal court fastening vicarious liability must satisfy itself as to the prior meeting of the minds of the principal culprit and his companions who are sought to be constructively made liable in respect of every act committed by the former. There is no law to our knowledge which lays down that a person accompanying the principal culprit shares his intention in respect of every act which the latter might eventually commit. The existence or otherwise of the common intention depends upon the facts and circumstances of each case. The intention of the principal offender and his companions to deal with any person who might intervene to stop the quarrel must be apparent from the conduct of the persons accompanying the principal culprit or some other clear and cogent incriminating piece of evidence. In the absence of such material, the companion or companions cannot justifiably be held guilty for every offence committed by the principal offender.” (Emphasis Supplied)

Unless a common intention is established as a matter of necessary inference from the proved circumstances the accused persons will be liable for their individual act and not for the act done by any other person. For an inference of common intention to be drawn for the purposes of Section 34, the evidence and the circumstances of the case should establish, without any room for doubt, that a meeting of minds and a fusion of ideas had taken place amongst the different accused and in prosecution of it, the overt acts of the accused persons flowed out as if in obedience to the command of a single mind. If on the evidence, there is doubt as to the involvement of a particular accused in the common intention, the benefit of doubt should be given to the said accused person. ….”
33. In Girija Shankar v. State of U.P. 2004 (3)SCC 793, this Court made the following observations:
“9. …… In order to bring home the charge of common intention, the prosecution has to establish by evidence, whether direct or circumstantial, that there was plan or meeting of minds of all the accused persons to commit the offence for which they are charged with the aid of Section 34, be it pre-arranged or on the spur of the moment; but it must necessarily be before the commission of the crime.….” (Emphasis supplied)

REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.57 OF 2013

SONU @ SUNIL  Vs  STATE OF MADHYA PRADESH 

K.M. JOSEPH, J.
Dated:MAY 29, 2020.
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