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Q. Define criminal conspiracy discuss its kinds and distinguish it from abetment.
Q. Define criminal conspiracy what are its different kinds discuss fully.
Conspiracy is one of the forms of abetment and it differs from other offences in this respect that unlike other offences, the intention to do a criminal act is itself sufficient no matter whether it is done or not section 120-A and 120-B of P.P.C have brought the law of conspiracy in the country in line with the English law by making the overt act unessential when the conspiracy is to commit any offence.
2. Relevant Provisions:
Following are the relevant provisions of P.P.C regarding the concerned topic.
Section 120-A, 120-B, P.P.C
Section 121-A P.P.C
(I) Definition U/Sec 120-A:
“When two or more, persons agree to do or cause to be done:
(i)an illegal act. Or
(ii) an act which is not illegal by illegal means
Such an agreement is designated a criminal conspiracy.”
Following are the essential ingredients of offence of criminal conspiracy.
(i) Two or More Persons:
According to sec.120-A, at least two persons are required to constitute the conspiracy. One person cannot be held guilty of conspiracy as he cannot conspire with himself.
Criminal conspiracy as envisaged in section 120-A, P.P.C. must be product of two consenting minds uninfluenced by any consideration of threat, intimidation, coercion or undue influence.
(ii) Agreement Between Such Persons:
Agreement is not mere intention, but announcement and acceptance of intentions. To constitute a criminal conspiracy, there must be an agreement of two or more persons to do an act which is illegal or which is to be done by illegal means.
1998 PSC 533
It was held that the most important ingredient of the offence is the agreement between two or more persons to do an illegal act
(a) Mode Of Agreement:
Agreement may be express or implied or parity expressed and partly implied.
(iii)To do Illegal Act:
The word illegal is defined u/sec 43 P.P.C as
“everything which is an offence or which is prohibited by law or which furnishes ground for a civil action.”
Offence of conspiracy completed as soon as agreement to do an illegal act is the ultimate object of such agreement or is merely incidental to the object.
‘A’ and ‘B’ agrees to murder ‘C. This is an offence and they are guilty u/sec 120-A.
(iv)Legal Act by Illegal Means:
When two or more persons agree to do an act, which is not illegal itself, may be guilty of criminal conspiracy u/sec 120-A when they agree to do or cause to be done that act by illegal means.
‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ agree to sell clothes without paying custom duty on it. They are guilty u/sec 120-A.
Agreement To Commit An Offence And Agreement Which Is Illegal But Not Constitute An Offence:
The proviso to section 120-A draws a distinction between an agreement to commit an offence and an agreement of which either the object or the methods employed are illegal but do not constitute an offence. In the case of former, the criminal conspiracy is completed by the act of agreement; in the case of the latter, there must be some act done by one or more of the parties to the agreement to effect thereof i.e. There must be an overt act.
(IV)Proof Of Criminal Conspiracy:
Conspiracy may be established by direct or indirect evidence such as circumstantial evidence. Evidence need to be considered together and its cumulative effect to be weighed and given effect. According to article 23 of Q.S.O, 1984, The act done by one is admissible against the co-conspirators.
3. Punishment U/Sec 120-B:
(i) Whoever is a party to a criminal conspiracy to commit an offence punishable with death, imprisonment for a term of two years or upwards, shall where no express provision is made in the code for the punishment of such conspiracy, be punished in the same manner as if he had abetted offence.
(ii) Whoever is a party to a criminal conspiracy other than a criminal conspiracy to commit an offence punishable as aforesaid, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term not exceeding six months or with fine or with both.
4. Conspiracy To Commit Offences Punishable By Section 121-A:
Whoever within or without Pakistan conspires to:
(i) Commit any of the offence punishable by sec 121 i.e. Waging or attempting to wage war or abetting waging of war against Pakistan, or
(ii) Deprive Pakistan of the Sovereignty of her territories or any part thereof, or
(iii) Overawe (something more than mere apprehension. It is a situation where one feels to chose between yielding to force or exposing to serious danger) the federal Govt. or any Provincial Govt. by means of criminal force or show of it.
He shall be punished with Imprisonment for life or with imprisonment of either description which may extend to ten years and shall also be liable to fine.
5. Difference Between Criminal Conspiracy And Abetment:
Following are the difference between criminal conspiracy and abetment.
(I) Gist Of Offence:
The gist of the offence of criminal conspiracy is a bare agreement to commit an offence.
The offence of abetment requires that an act or illegal omission must take place in pursuance of the conspiracy.
Abetment is a total complete offence.
Conspiracy is one of the forms of abetment.
Section 109 P.P.C is concerned only with the punishment of abetments for which no express provision is made under the penal code. A charge u/sec 190, should therefore be along with some other substantive offence committed in consequence of abetment.
The offence of criminal conspiracy is an independent offence. It is made punishable u/sec 120-B.
Abetment by conspiracy is narrow in scope.
Criminal conspiracy is wider in scope.
To conclude, I can say that the offence of criminal conspiracy is a substantive offence and is punishable as such. It has nothing to do with abetment although it is one of the ways by which offence of abetment may be committed. It is wider in scope and covers acts which do not amount to abetment by conspiracy within the meaning of sec. 107.
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