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Joint liability is created either by common intention or common object to all person who have committed a crime. A joint liability allows parties to share the risks associates with taking on additional debt, and to protect themselves in the event of legal litigation and lawsuits1.

COMMON INTENTION definition under section 34, Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common object, of the Indian Penal Code which says when a criminal act done by several persons (two or more than two) in furtherance of the common intention of all, each of such person is liable for that act in the same manner as if it were done by him alone.

Case: Barendra Kumar Ghosh Vs. Emperor 19242, court held that both are equally liable for murder, who murdered the person and who was standing outside or saw all the facts.

Common intention includes more than one offender in which 2 or more persons intentionally do an act jointly. It requires prior meeting of all accused together before actual act. Intention under sec 34 may be any intention in which pre-arranged plan and prior meeting of mind is necessary.

There is no provision for its punishments under sec 34 until and unless act not done. Only offence is committed of common intention is punishable.

But in certain cases, common intention may develop suddenly on the spot also it may be inferred from circumstances and facts of the case. Such intention developed during the commission of an act, it must be established.


Common object definition under sec 149 every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object, of the Indian Penal Code which says that an offence is committed by any member of an unlawful assembly in prosecution of the common object of that assembly, or such as the members of that assembly knew to be likely to be committed in prosecution of that object, every persons who, at the time of the committing of that offences, is a member of the same assembly, is guilty of that offences.

The word “In prosecution of the common object” means, the offence committed directly linked with the common object of the unlawful assembly. It does not mean that during the prosecution of the common object.

Case:    Yunis v. State of Madhya Pradesh 2002 (S.C), Court held that presence of an accused person is a part of unlawful assembly which is sufficient for conviction.

Common object includes five or more offenders. It creates a specific offence punishment which can be imposed solemnly. In this, prior meeting of mind is not necessary and mere membership of an unlawful assembly is sufficient at the time of commitment of an offence. Member of unlawful assembly are not only liable to act done in prosecution of common intention to be done in prosecution of the unlawful object but it is a consequent offence.

Difference between sec34 and sec149

 Differences clearly mentioned in the case of Virendra Singh v. state of M.P 2011 S.C4

Sec 34 speaks about common intention while sec 149 is about common object which is wider in its scope.

Sec 149 itself create any specific offence whereas sec 34 does not.

Under sec 34, some active participation in crime involving physical violence is necessary but sec 149 does not requires it.

Sec 34 is not for maximum no of persons but sec 149 must requires at least 5 persons having some common object.



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