Understanding Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC)

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December 7, 2023

Understanding Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC)

IPC Section 34 - Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common  intention - - Punishment and bail

  • Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code delineates the collective responsibility of individuals engaged in a criminal act with a shared intention. Recently, the Supreme Court clarified that this section requires a common intention among all co-accused individuals, indicating a shared purpose and design.

Key Points Regarding Section 34 IPC:

  • Joint Liability for Acts in Common Intention
  • Principle: When a criminal act is committed by several persons in furtherance of their common intention, each person is held equally liable for the act as if done individually.
  • Deviation from Standard: It deviates from the conventional concept of criminal law where an individual is accountable only for their actions, not others’.

Nature of Section 34

  • Non-Specific Offence: Section 34 doesn’t define a specific offence but serves as a rule of evidence establishing joint culpability.
  • Punishment: The liability under Section 34 corresponds with the crime committed; for instance, if murder is committed with common intention, liability extends to both Section 302 and Section 34 of IPC.

Establishing Accountability

  • Indispensable Role: It aids in determining individual accountability when proving individual liability becomes challenging in a group-involved criminal act.
  • Participation Requirement: Active involvement in the overall commission of the crime is crucial, not mere presence. A shared intention and active participation make each individual equally responsible.

Essential Elements for Application of Section 34:

  • A criminal act executed by multiple individuals.
  • Presence of a common intention among all to commit the criminal act, even formed during the occurrence.
  • Active involvement of each accused; mere presence isn’t sufficient.
  • This interpretation is crucial in ensuring shared accountability among multiple perpetrators, emphasizing the need for a collective intent and active participation for applicability under Section 34 of the IPC.

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Understanding Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) | Vaid ICS Institute