Mere Common Intention May Not Attract Vicarious Liability without An Action In Furtherance: SC gives wider Definition to Section 34 IPC

The Supreme Court in the case of Jasdeep Singh v/s State of Punjab ruled that mere common intention may not attract vicarious liability without an action in furtherance.

The occurrence took place in the area of Baba Rasoi Dhaba, Jalandhar. The motive for the occurrence was that the deceased felt that a raid was conducted in the hotel belonging to him and his father, the Appellant, was done at the instance of the accused.

Father of the deceased went in search of the deceased on finding that he had not returned home, though he was in the habit of coming late. On a particular street, he saw the accused grappling with the deceased. It was seen by him in the street light. The occurrence was also witnessed by a friend of the deceased. The witness spoke about the common intention on the part of the accused on the previous night to do away with the deceased. 

In pursuance to the statement made by one accused to another, saying “what are you seeing now”, the accused took out a gun from his pocket and shot the deceased. Another accused took his gun and brandished it against the deceased.

The appellant contended that the evidence of witness having been disbelieved, the courts have committed an error in applying Section 34 IPC. There is an improvement with respect to the statement made by the father of the deceased. A mere statement per se would not be sufficient to attract Section 34 IPC.

The respondent contended that the accused are influential persons. The case would come under offense punishable under Section 302 IPC. The trial court has committed an error as confirmed by the High Court in bringing it under Section 299 IPC and therefore wrongly applied Section 304 Part I IPC. It is not necessary that an accused will have to do a physical act in order to attract Section 34 IPC. Thus, a mere presence of the accused would suffice. Hence, the appeal filed by the de facto complainant be allowed while dismissing the appeal filed by the Accused-Appellants. 

The division bench of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice M.M. Sundresh noted that A mere common intention per se may not attract Section 34 IPC, sans an action in furtherance. There may also be cases where a person, despite being an active participant in forming a common intention to commit a crime, may actually withdraw from it later.

“The High Court did not even consider the import of Section 34 IPC as against 2 of the 4 accused. The approach of the trial court cannot be sustained to that extent in the light of our discussion,” the court remarked.

The court set aside the judgment of the High Court confirming that of the trial court as against the Accused-Appellants.

Click Here To Read Original Order / Judgement

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