Ingredients of Section 121-A of IPC – “Conspiracy to commit offences”

Ingredients of the section:

Following ingredients are necessary: —

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(1) Conspiracy within or without India to commit any offence punishable by Section 121; or

(2) Conspiracy to overawe by means of criminal force; or show of criminal force the Central Government or any State Government.

In the case of Maganlal Radhakrishan v. Emperor, the following characteristics of this offence were pointed out: —

(i) Any specific number of persons is not necessary for commission of this offence.

(ii) Number of persons and means in which they are equipped is immaterial.

(iii) The true ‘Quo Animo’ of gathering is necessary.

(iv) The object of gathering is to attain by force and violence an object of general public in nature which is against the State authority.

(v) Every member is equally responsible for unlawful act for the same offence.

Under this section conspiracy itself is a crime and it is not necessary to establish any illegal act or illegal omission as overt acts of the conspiracy the existence of which has to be established. The criminality of the conspiracy is independent of the criminality of the overt acts.

The words ‘conspires to overawe by means of criminal force or the show of criminal force’ the Central Government or any State Government clearly embrace not merely a conspiracy to raise a general insurrection, but also a conspiracy to overawe the Central Government or any State Government by the organisation of a serious riot or a large and tumultous unlawful assembly.

The word “overawe” clearly imports more than the creation of apprehension or alarm or even perhaps fear. It appears to connote the creation of a situation in which the members of the Central Government or Provincial Government feel themselves compelled to choose between yielding to the force or exposing themselves or members of the public to a very serious danger.

It is not necessary that the danger should be danger of assassination or of bodily injury to themselves. The danger might well be a danger to public property or to the safety of the members of the general public.

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