26 May 2020


Judgments

High Court of Delhi

Rajiv and Ors. Vs. State NCT of Delhi

MANU/DE/3679/2018

08.10.2018

Criminal

Essence of crime of conspiracy is unlawful agreement and not its accomplishment

Present appeals are directed against the judgment passed by the trial Court whereby the Appellants were convicted for the offence punishable under Section 120B of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC), Section 302 IPC read with Section 120B and Section 201 of IPC read with Section 120B of IPC. The Appellants have also challenged the order on sentence whereby they were sentenced to undergo rigorous life imprisonment (RI).

It is well settled that, a criminal conspiracy is hatched in secrecy and prosecution cannot be burdened to establish the same with direct piece of evidence. The prosecution can discharge its onus by relying upon the circumstances to establish the existence of criminal conspiracy, however, the circumstances relied upon by the prosecution have to be of a definite character which unerringly point towards guilt of the accused. In the case of criminal conspiracy, the Court has to infer certain facts and circumstances.

In considering the question of criminal conspiracy, it is not always possible to give affirmative evidence about the date of formation of conspiracy, about the persons who took part in the formation of conspiracy, about the object which the conspirators set before themselves as the object of conspiracy and the manner in which the object of conspiracy was to be carried out. All this is necessarily a matter of inference. It is not necessary that, there should be an express proof of the agreement, as from the acts and conduct of the parties, the agreement can be inferred.

As per Section 120A of the IPC, for imputing a person as a conspirator, there has to be existence of an agreement between two or more persons either to do an illegal act or to do a legal act through illegal means. It is a well settled proposition of law that, agreement of conspiracy can be proved either by direct evidence or by circumstantial evidence or by both and despite that an offence of conspiracy cannot be deemed to have been established on mere suspicion, surmises or inferences which are not supported by cogent or acceptable evidence.

When two or more persons agree to commit a crime of conspiracy, then regardless of making or considering any plans for its commission, and despite the fact that no step is taken by any such person to carry out their common purpose, a crime is committed by each and every one who joins in the agreement. There has thus to be two conspirators and there may be more than that. To prove the charge of conspiracy it is not necessary that intended crime was committed or not. If committed it may further help prosecution to prove the charge of conspiracy.

It is the unlawful agreement and not its accomplishment, which is the gist or essence of the crime of conspiracy. Offence of criminal conspiracy is complete even though there is no agreement as to the means by which the purpose is to be accomplished.

It is clear that, even though there is no direct evidence to prove the criminal conspiracy between A1 and A2, the Court can look into the surrounding circumstances and their antecedent and subsequent conduct to prove the charge of criminal conspiracy. Both the Appellants failed to provide a reasonable explanation of their prolonged and multiple conversations over the mobile phone. Explanations given by A1 and A2 are false in view of the CDR record of both the mobile numbers. The false explanation given by A1 and A2 are in itself additional links in the chain of circumstances as has been decided by the Apex Court in many cases.

In Sharad Birdhichand Sarda Vs. State of Maharashtra, it was held that a false explanation or false plea taken by the accused can be used as an additional link in the chain of circumstantial evidence subject to the satisfaction of three essential conditions, namely, (i) various links in the chain of evidence led by the prosecution have been satisfactorily proved, (ii) the said circumstance points to the guilt of the accused with reasonable definiteness, and (iii) the circumstance is in proximity to the time and situation.

There is consistency in the facts established by the prosecution, which only leads to the hypothesis of the guilt of A1 and A2 and the chain of evidence is so complete as to not leave any reasonable ground for a conclusion consistent with the innocence of A1 and A2. The prosecution has proved its case against the Appellants upto the hilt. There is no merit in both the appeals which are accordingly dismissed.

Relevant

Sharad Birdhichand Sarda Vs. State of Maharashtra MANU/SC/0111/1984
: (1984) 4 SCC 116

Tags : Conspiracy Circumstantial evidence Conviction

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