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Criminal Conspiracy

In this article, learn about the meaning of criminal conspiracy, what punishments are given for breaking the law under the IPC, and more.

The expression ‘conspiracy’ alludes to the joining of at least two individuals who are fully intent on committing a crime. This is when at least two individuals consent to accomplish something unlawful together. Under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860, criminal conspiracy is a considerable offence. The accused is blamed for illegal tricks, notwithstanding a meaningful allegation under the IPC or another regulation. Criminal conspiracy is managed under Chapter V-A of the IPC, added in 1913. 

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Meaning of Criminal Conspiracy

IPC Section 120A

Under Section 120A of the IPC, criminal conspiracy is characterised as an arrangement between at least two individuals to attempt anything illicit, i.e.:

  • A criminal offence
  • A demonstration that is not restricted by regulation yet is completed unlawfully

‘Unlawful’ is defined under Section 43 of the IPC as ‘whatever establishes an offence, is illegal by regulation, or leads to a common activity’

The stipulation to Section 120A states that simply consenting to execute an activity that breaches the law makes for criminal conspiracy and that no unmistakable demonstration or unlawful exclusion should be shown. Such an unmistakable demonstration becomes fundamental when the conspiracy likely leads to something unlawful that does not establish a crime. It has no effect on whether the illegal conduct is the essential or accompanying objective of the arrangement.

Criminal Conspiracy: Punishment

Criminal conspiracy is punishable under Section 120B of the IPC under the following conditions.

At the point when a criminal conspiracy includes the commission of an actual crime: When the plot is to perpetrate a crime-

  • With the chance of death because of their activities
  • Life in prison or capital punishment
  • You may be detained for a period of two years or more
  • In any event, when there is no expressed punishment for such an intrigue under the Code, any individual from a criminal conspiracy will be rebuffed as though he had supported and helped the crime

Criminal conspiracy to perpetrate offences not shown in the main classification: Anyone involved with a particular criminal conspiracy is deserving of detainment of one or the other sort for a period not surpassing a half year, a fine, or both.

Proof of a Conspiracy

Immediate or fortuitous proof may be utilised to lay out a criminal conspiracy charge. A criminal conspiracy typically happens in a confidential and private setting. This makes it difficult to deliver any positive proof about the date of the conspiracy’s development, the individuals engaged with it, the conspiracy’s article, or how the conspiracy’s item will be completed. Nevertheless, all of this might be derived based on the situation at hand.

Indian Evidence Act of 1872, Section 10

The reason expressed in Section 10 of the Indian Evidence Conduct is that once a conspiracy to play out an unlawful demonstration is demonstrated, one conspiracy’s demonstration turns into the demonstration of another conspirator. 

In a conspiracy case, Section 10 makes arrangements with proof acceptability. It conveys that anything expressed, done, or composed by conspirators with the assistance of their everyday object is enough to prove that there indeed was a conspiracy. Before such a reality might be recognised, the following prerequisites should be met:

  • There should be reasonable grounds to feel that at least two individuals have plotted to lead an illicit demonstration or damage that might be prosecuted
  • Anything spoken, done, or composed by one of them concerning their joint goal will be utilised against the others, assuming it is articulated, done, or written after that period

Case Laws

  • Province of Haryana v. Parveen (Supreme Court, 2021)
  • State (Delhi Administration) v. Kehar Singh and others (1988) Supreme Court
  • The instance of Major E.G. Barsay v. the State of Bombay was chosen in the Supreme Court of India in 1962
  • (2003) SC Ram Narayan PoplI v. CBI
  • Province of Bombay v. Topandas (1955) Supreme Court
  • Support. Distt. Prison (1958) SC Leo Roy Frey

Purpose of Insertion of Section 120A & 120B IPC, 1860

Sections 120A and 120B IPC were added to prevent people from engaging in illegal conversation or activity (even if you don’t act right away or with illegal means). People who plan to do wrong, even if they don’t act on their plan, are called conspirators in the law. 

Section 120A has a provision that says that if one engages in an agreement to do something illegal is illegal. The prosecution doesn’t have to show that everyone part of the deal agreed to do or let someone else do something illegal. The agreement can be shown by what the prosecution needs to show.


Criminal conspiracy is an undeveloped crime, since it doesn’t require the fruition of an unlawful demonstration. A criminal conspiracy is when at least two individuals join together and are fully intent on committing a crime. These days, it is customary to see the arrangement of the criminal conspiracy being utilised very generously, which conflicts with the Supreme Court’s perspectives. Thus, the predominant courts should watch out for the maltreatment of the arrangement while protecting law and order.


Frequently asked questions

Get answers to the most common queries related to the UPSC Examination Preparation.

What is the punishment for criminal conspiracy?

Ans. The crime is punishable by as long as five years in jail and punishments under the government’s conspiracy re...Read full

What cases are related to criminal conspiracy?

Ans. Major EG Barsay v. the State of Bombay (1962) ...Read full

What does Section 120B state?

Ans. There are consequences for people who are part of a criminal conspiracy, including being punishable by death or...Read full

What is the difference between Section 120A & 120B?

Ans. Section 120A states what a criminal conspiracy is, while Section 120B gives the punishment for people who commi...Read full