Criminal Conspiracy



Section 120A of the Indian Penal Code defines Criminal Conspiracy as, “When two or more persons agree to do, or cause to be done,

(1) an illegal act, or

(2) an act which is not illegal by illegal means, such an agreement is designated a criminal conspiracy


According Section 107 of the Indian Penal Code, “A person abets the doing of a thing, who –

First - Instigates any person to do that thing; or

Secondly - Engages with one or more other person or persons in any conspiracy for the doing of that thing, if an act or illegal omission takes place in pursuance of that conspiracy, and in order to the doing of that thing; or

Thirdly - Intentionally aids, by any act or illegal omission, the doing of that thing.


Example :  

A and B made a plan to murder C; letters passed between them as to the movement of C. Here both A and B are liable for indictment to a charge of criminal conspiracy under this section since there was an agreement between A and B to do an illegal act, i.e., to commit the murder of C.

Example :

A, a public officer, is authorized by a warrant from a Court of Justice to apprehend Z, B, knowing that fact and also that C is not Z, willfully represents to A that C is Z, and thereby intentionally causes A to apprehend C. Here B abets by instigation the apprehension of C.


It is an Act or a Planning to do an illegal act by all the persons or any of them or by some of them

It is an act to instigate or to provide help to do an illegal act by the person who is so instigated  


Criminal conspiracy is a substantive offence by itself, and is punishable as such

Abetment is not per se a substantive offence.


Each accused is a principal offender  

Abettor is not a principle offender.



Section 120 of the Indian Penal Code prescribes Punishment:

 Whoever is a party to a criminal conspiracy to commit an offence punishable with death, imprisonment for life or rigorous imprisonment for a term of two years or upwards, shall, where no express provision is made in this Code for the punishment of such a conspiracy, be punished in the same manner as if he had abetted such offence.


Whoever abets any offence shall, if the act abetted is committed in consequence of the abetment, and no express provision is made by this Code for the punishment of such abetment, be punished with the punishment provided for the offence. (Section 109)


Conspiracy is cognizable or non-cognizable,  bailable or non bailable.

Cognizable or non-cognizable,  bailable or non bailable


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