26 May 2020


Judgments

Supreme Court

Bilal Hajar Vs. State

MANU/SC/1149/2018

10.10.2018

Criminal

In order to constitute a conspiracy, meeting of mind of two or more persons to do an illegal act or an act by illegal means is a must

Present appeal is directed against the final judgment passed by the High Court in Criminal Appeal whereby the High Court dismissed the appeal filed by Appellant herein. The Accused (A-6) alone felt aggrieved by his conviction and award of sentences and he has filed the present appeal by way of special leave to appeal in present Court. The only question involved in present appeal is whether the Courts below were justified in holding the Appellant (A-6) guilty for commission of only the offence under Section 120-B of Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC).

When the two Courts below in their respective jurisdiction has appreciated the entire ocular evidence, then present Court would be very slow in exercise of its appellate jurisdiction under Article 136 of the Constitution to appreciate the evidence afresh unless the Appellant is able to point out that the concurrent finding of two Courts below is wholly perverse or is recorded without any evidence or is recorded by misreading or ignoring the material evidence.

In order to constitute a conspiracy, meeting of mind of two or more persons to do an illegal act or an act by illegal means is a must. In other words, it is sine qua non for invoking the plea of conspiracy against the accused. However, it is not necessary that all the conspirators must know each and every detail of the conspiracy, which is being hatched and nor it is necessary to prove their active part/role in such meeting. Their presence and participation in such meeting alone is sufficient. A criminal conspiracy is always hatched in secrecy and is never an open affair to anyone much less to public at large.

It is for this reason, its existence coupled with the object for which it was hatched has to be gathered on the basis of circumstantial evidence, such as conduct of the conspirators, the chain of circumstances leading to holding of such meeting till the commission of offence by applying the principle applicable for appreciating the circumstantial evidence for holding the Accused guilty for commission of an offence.

The complicity of the Appellant in conceiving a plan to kill/eliminate Siva was therefore duly proved with the evidence adduced by the prosecution. Indeed, it was the Appellant who took the lead to kill/eliminate Siva and with that end in view first he held a meeting in his house with all the other Accused on 1st September, 1991 and pursuant thereto got it accomplished through Accused (A-1 to A-5) on 5th September, 1991 when Accused (A-1 & A-3) caused fatal stab injury with knife to Siva resulting in his homicidal death.

It was not necessary for the Appellant to remain present at the time of actual commission of the offence on 5th September, 1991 with Accused (A-1 to A-5) for killing/eliminating Siva. The Appellant could be held guilty for commission of the same offence and sentence, which was awarded to Accused (A-1 to A-5) as if, he had abetted the commission of the offence of murder as provided under Section 120-B of IPC. The Appellant's conviction and award of life sentence as prescribed under Section 302 read with Section 120-B of IPC was, therefore, rightly held made out along with other Accused persons by the two Courts below. There is no merit in this appeal. Appeal dismissed.

Relevant

Baldev Singh v. State of Punjab MANU/SC/0903/2009
: 2009 (6) SCC 564

Tags : Conspiracy Conviction Legality

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