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How to proof common intention in criminal cases?

 

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Although it is difficult but not impossible to procure direct evidence to prove the intention of an individual and in most cases the common intention had to be inferred from his act or conduct or other relevant circumstances of the case.[1] The common intention can be inferred from the circumstances of the case and that the intention can be gathered from the circumstances as they arise even during an incident.[2] The court has to examine the prosecution evidence in regard to application of section 34 cumulatively and if the ingredients are satisfied, the consequences must follow. It is difficult to state any hard and fast rule which can be applied universally to all cases. It will always depend on the fact and circumstances of the given case whether the person involved in the commission of crime with a common intention can be held guilty of the main offence committed by them together.[3] In order to seek the aid of section 34 IPC it is not necessary that individual act off the accused persons has to be proved by the prosecution by direct evidence. Common intention has to be inferred from proved facts and circumstances and once there exist common intention, mere presence of the accused persons among the assailants would be sufficient proof of their participation in the offence.[4]

In Rishideo Pandey’s case[5], the evidence off prosecution witness was that they saw the two accused A and B, who were brothers, standing near the cot of the victim who had been sleeping, that A was armed with a gandasa and B with lathi, and that on a hue and cry being raised both ran together. The medical evidence was that the deceased died of an incised wound on the neck which was necessarily fatal. It was held that B shared with A the common intention to cause death, and there was no reason to interfere with his conviction under section 302 read with section 34. This inferences can be gathered by the manner in which the accused arrived on the scene and mounted the attack, the determination and concert with which the beating was given or the injuries caused by one or some of them, the acts done by others to assist those causing the injuries, the concerted conduct subsequent to the commission of the offence, for instance all of them left the scene of the incident together and other acts which all or some may have done as would help in determining the common intention. In other words, the totality of the circumstances must be taken into consideration in arriving at the conclusion whether the accused had a common intention to commit an offence of which they could be convicted.

Common intention is a question of fact. The proof of common intention is the matter of inference from the circumstances. Direct evidence to prove the intention of any individual is very difficult, if not impossible. It is to be deducted from the conduct or other relevant circumstances of the case.[6] When all the accused persons gather near a disputed land, all carrying deadly weapon and they rush together and murder is committed, their common intention to murder stands proved.[7] It is, however, necessary to show that any overt act must have been done by a particular accused. The section will be attracted if it is established that the criminal act has been done by all or any one of the accused persons in furtherance of the common intention.

[1] Ramchandra Tolaram v. State of Bombay, AIR 1956 Bom 287

[2] State of A.P. v. M. Sobhan Babu, 2011 (3) SCALE 451 : 2011 CrLJ 2175 (SC)

[3] Kuria and another v. State of Rajasthan, (2012) 10 SCC 433 : 2012 CrLJ 4707 (SC)

[4] Mrinal das v. State of Tripura, (2011) 9 SCC 479 : AIR 2011 SC 3753 : (2011) 3 SCC (cri) 810.

[5] AIR 1955 SC 331 : 1955 CrLJ 873

[6] Promode Chandra v. State, 1952 CrLJ 1213 (Tripura)

[7] Nana Gangaram v. State of Maharastra, 1970 CrLJ 621 : 1970 Mah LJ 172 : 71 Bom LR 375 : ILR 1969 Bom 654

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