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Qn . Explain the law relating to constructive criminality and bring out the distinction between “common intention” and “common object“.

Model  Answer:

Constructive criminality refers to the legal principle where individuals who are part of a group or association can be held criminally liable for the actions of the group, even if they did not directly commit the offense themselves. This principle is often applied in cases of group criminal activity, such as riots, mob violence, or conspiracy.

The two main legal doctrines that apply to constructive criminality are “common intention” and “common object.”

Related case laws:

  • Chandra Pratap Singh Vs State of MP ( 2023)
  • Nanak Chanda vs   State of Punjab


Common Intention:

Common intention refers to the shared purpose or plan among a group of individuals to commit a criminal act. Each member of the group is held responsible for the offense if it was committed in furtherance of the common intention, regardless of whether they personally carried out the act.

This principle is enshrined in Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which states that when a criminal act is done by several persons in furtherance of a common intention of all, each of such persons is liable for that act as if it were done by them individually.

Example: In the case of Barendra Kumar Ghosh vs. King Emperor (1925), the accused were charged with murder. They formed a group to carry out the murder, and even though not all of them directly participated in the killing, they were held liable because of their common intention to commit the crime.

Common Object:

Common object refers to the shared objective or goal of a group of individuals, even if there is no pre-arranged plan or agreement on how to achieve that objective. Under this principle, if a member of the group commits an offense in furtherance of the common object, all members of the group can be held liable.

This principle is covered under Section 149 of the Indian Penal Code, which states that if an offense is committed by any member of an unlawful assembly in prosecution of the common object of that assembly, or such as the members of that assembly knew to be likely to be committed in prosecution of that object, every person who, at the time of the committing of that offense, is a member of the same assembly, is guilty of that offense.

Example: In the case of State of U.P. v. Dan Singh (1964), the accused were part of an unlawful assembly that attacked a police station, resulting in the death of a police constable. Even though not all members directly participated in the killing, they were held liable because their common object was to attack the police station, and the murder was committed in furtherance of that object.


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Daily Answer writing | Vaid ICS Institute