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To prove the charge of conspiracy, within the ambit of Section 120-B, it is necessary to establish that there was an agreement between the parties for doing an unlawful act: Supreme Court of India

It is to be noted that it is difficult to establish a conspiracy by direct evidence at all, but at the same time, in absence of any evidence to show a meeting of minds between the conspirators for the intended object of committing an illegal act, it is not safe to hold a person guilty for offences under Section 120-B of IPC. A few bits here and a few bits thereon which prosecution relies upon, cannot be held to be adequate for connecting the accused with the commission of the crime of criminal conspiracy. Such an opinion was held by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India before Hon’ble Justice R. SUBHASH REDDY & Hon’ble Justice HRISHIKESH ROY in the matter of PARVEEN @ SONU vs The State of Haryana [CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.1571 OF 2021] on 07.12.2021.

The facts arising the instant case were that on 14.03.2009, the police party was escorting four accused namely Nadeem, Naushad, Ravi & Sunil from the Central Jail, Jaipur and they were to be produced in the Court of CJM, Bhiwani. They reached Railway Station Rewari, in the morning at 04:30 hrs. They then boarded the train for Bhiwani. When the train reached Railway Station Nangal Pathani, four young boys entered their compartment and attacked the police party in order to rescue the accused. It is alleged that one of the accused fired upon Head Constable Arjun Singh and one Vinod threw chilly powder on the police party, who was overpowered and captured by the police. It is contended by learned Counsel for the appellant that though there was no concrete proof to establish the participation of the appellant in the alleged crime, the Trial Court as well as the High Court believed the prosecution story in absence of any supporting evidence and convicted him. 

The Hon’ble Supreme Court after hearing both the counsels for the parties observed that apart from the confession of a co-accused there is no evidence to suggest the involvement of the appellate in the instant crime. There were 50 to 60 co-passengers in the compartment but no one was examined by the prosecution and the appellate was only convicted mainly relying on the medical reports and depositions of PW-20, PW-22, and PW-23.

Additionally, the Hon’ble Supreme Court referred to the case of Indra Dalal v. State Of Haryana (2015) 11 SCC 31 in which the Hon’ble Supreme Court held that “The philosophy behind the aforesaid provision is acceptance of a harsh reality that confessions are extorted by the police officers by practicing oppression and torture or even inducement and, therefore, they are unworthy of any credence. The provision absolutely excludes from evidence against the accused a confession made by him to a police officer. This provision applies even to those confessions which are made to a police officer who may not otherwise be acting as such. If he is a police officer and confession was made in his presence, in whatever capacity, the same becomes inadmissible in evidence. This is the substantive rule of law enshrined under this provision and this strict rule has been reiterated countlessly by this Court as well as the High Courts. ” Furthermore, the Hon’ble High Court relied on the case of Uppa alias Manjunatha v. State of Karnataka (2013) 14 SCC 729 and held the “ when an accused is held guilty and sentenced to imprisonment, confirmation of sentence by the High Court is justifiable only in the event of giving sound reasons upon analysis of material evidence. In the case on hand, a perusal of the judgment of the High Court reveals that except referring to depositions, High Court has not considered the evidence at all and confirmed the conviction and sentence as ordered by the Trial Court.

Finally, the Hon’ble Supreme Court set aside the conviction of the accused as the prosecution has failed to prove its case, that the appellant herein, has conspired with other accused for the offenses for which he was charged.

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Judgment Reviewed by: Rohan Kumar Thakur

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