Criminal conspiracy is a grave offense that poses a serious threat to society. In India, the Indian Penal Code (IPC) addresses the crime of conspiracy and provides legal provisions to deal with such cases.Criminal conspiracy is defined under Section 120-A of the IPC, which states that when two or more individuals agree to commit an illegal act, or to accomplish a legal act through illegal means, it constitutes a crime of conspiracy. The main objective of this section is to prevent the occurrence of planned criminal activities by penalizing those involved in conspiracies. To establish a criminal conspiracy, the following elements must be present:
- An agreement between two or more persons: The existence of an agreement is a crucial aspect. It is not necessary for all the conspirators to actively participate or execute the crime, but the agreement itself is sufficient to hold them accountable.
- The agreement should be for an illegal act: The agreement must pertain to an act that is prohibited by law. It can be a criminal offense or a lawful act done through illegal means.
- The agreement should involve criminal intent: The intention to commit a crime or to achieve a lawful act through illegal means should be evident in the agreement.
- Overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy: It is essential that at least one overt act is committed by any of the conspirators to advance the conspiracy. The overt act need not be criminal in nature, but it should be directly linked to the conspiracy.
The punishment for criminal conspiracy varies depending on the offense intended or committed. As per Section 120-B of the IPC, those found guilty of conspiracy can face imprisonment for a term ranging from six months to life, along with a fine.The Indian Penal Code has provisions in place to address such acts, ensuring that those involved in conspiracies face appropriate legal consequences.