Punishment for Criminal Conspiracy - Section 120B

Punishment for Criminal Conspiracy - Section  120B


The Indian Penal code has given specific guidelines to be followed in case a person does something wrong. Various punishments for various crimes are explained in this code. This code not only punishes those persons who commit the crime but punishes even those who plan to commit such a crime. Such provisions are mentioned in the act so as to make the law more strict and secure. A person should always abide by the law and never misuse the law that is the major objective of it.


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Basically, Indian Kanoon has also stated that if there is an agreement between two or more people to constitute a crime then such an act is punishable under Section 120B of IPC. Such a type of mutual contract or agreement between parties to commit a crime now or at a later date is known as a conspiracy. Hence, such a  conspiracy is a crime under the Indian Penal Code.

Such conspiracy to constitute a law is known as a criminal conspiracy and hence it is punishable under Section 120B of IPC.

What is Section 120B of the Indian Penal Code?

To understand this section, it is important to know the initial concept of Criminal conspiracy mentioned under Section 120A of the Indian Penal Code. Section 120 A of the Indian Penal Code states that: When 2 or more persons come together to constitute an act which is illegal and the motive of doing such illegal act is not considered to be illegal. For eg. A certain group of people plans to kidnap a child. Now, this act itself is illegal and it is obvious that for such execution of the plan, there are certain strategies involved such as from where to kidnap a child, who shall ask for extortion amount, and so on. Such an act is known as a criminal conspiracy which means an agreement among 2 or more persons to constitute a crime.

Punishment for such an act is mentioned in Section 120B of IPC and it states that:

  1. Whoever is involved with criminal connivance to carry out an offense culpable with death, or imprisonment for life or thorough detainment for a term of two years or upwards, will, where no express arrangement is made in this Code for the discipline of such a scheme, be charged in a similar way as though he had encouraged such offense.

  2. Whoever is involved with a criminal conspiracy other than a criminal conspiracy  to perpetrate an offense culpable as aforementioned will be charged with the detainment of one or the other portrayal for a term not surpassing a half year, or with fine or with both

The above two conditions explain that if a person carries out a criminal conspiracy shall be punishable with death, life imprisonment, or shall be liable for imprisonment for a term that may last at least 2 years. If there is no provision mentioned in the law, it shall be by default considered that the person has encouraged such offense and charged accordingly.

Also, a person shall be charged under this section if he is involved in any kind of conspiracy, not necessarily a criminal conspiracy. Even if the motto of the conspiracy is not successful, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term of at least six months which would last up to one year or with a fine or both.

To prove that a person is guilty of the offense mentioned under Section120B IPC, India ka kanoon has laid down certain conditions.

Essential Conditions to Prove a crime under Section 120B IPC

  1. There must be an agreement between two or more persons to achieve any lawful act unlawfully or to achieve any unlawful act by unlawful means.

  2. Such an illegal act should be proved by a shred of direct evidence.

  3. Such an act must be done with the mutual consent of all the persons who are in agreement with the said conspiracy.

Is IPC 120B bailable?

  1. For offense constituted under criminal conspiracy, such an offense is bailable or not depends on the motive of such conspiracy(serious or not)in nature.

  2. For any other conspiracy or failed conspiracy, such an act is a bailable offense.

What is the punishment for IPC 120B Case?

In the event that an individual completes a criminal conspiracy will be culpable with death, life detainment, or will be at risk for detainment for a term that may last at any duration of at least 2 years. In the event that there is no arrangement referenced in the law, it will be of course thought to be that the individual has empowered such offense and charged likewise. 

Likewise, an individual will be charged under this section in the event that he is engaged with any sort of connivance, not really a criminal trick. Regardless of whether the object of the conspiracy isn't fruitful, he will be culpable with detainment for a term of in any event a half year which would last as long as one year or with a fine or both.

Is IPC 120B a cognizable offense or a non-cognizable offense?

  1. If the object of such a conspiracy is serious and heinous, then such an act is a cognizable offense.

  2. If there is any kind of conspiracy other than above mentioned, then such an offense is a non-bailable offense.

How to file/defend your case for IPC 120B offense?

Steps for Filing the case 

Step 1: File  an F.I.R 

Step 2: Take the duplicate copy of the charge sheet and document the equivalent with the judicial magistrate of the first class.

Step 3: Magistrate will give the summons to the charge and the proceedings would begin.

For defending the case

  1. The Indian Penal Code has given the provision of bail for a person who is accused under Section 120B of IPC.

  2. One must produce an equivalent amount of evidence stating that he was not a part of such a conspiracy.

  3. When proved innocent, the person who was charged earlier has a way to file a defamation suit against other parties.


Famous judgment w.r.t. IPC 120b

1.Topandas vs The State Of Bombay on 14 October 1955 

In this case, the Supreme Court gave a landmark judgment in favor of the accused stating that there must be a group of people making an agreement to perform a criminal conspiracy. Hence, a single person cannot be charged with the offense of criminal conspiracy under this act.


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2.Ram Narain Popli vs Central Bureau Of Investigation 

This was also a landmark case in this the supreme court has come up with a set of conditions to constitute a conspiracy which is as under:

  1. Agreement between two or more persons:

  2. They all must think alike that is the sole motive of all people should be one.

  3. The act done should not be permissible by law.

Offence Punishment Cognizance Bail Triable By
Criminal conspiracy to commit an offence, Punishable with death, imprisonment for life or rigorous imprisonment for a term of 2 Years or upwards Same As For Abetment of that Offence Same As Offence Same As Offence Same as Offence
Any other criminal conspiracy 6 Months or Fine or Both Non-Cognizable Bailable Magistrate First Class
Offence Criminal conspiracy to commit an offence, Punishable with death, imprisonment for life or rigorous imprisonment for a term of 2 Years or upwards
Punishment Same As For Abetment of that Offence
Cognizance Same As Offence
Bail Same As Offence
Triable By Same as Offence
Offence Any other criminal conspiracy
Punishment 6 Months or Fine or Both
Cognizance Non-Cognizable
Bail Bailable
Triable By Magistrate First Class

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