Knowledge or involvement is required in order to make a person liable for conspiracy: Bombay High Court

Title: Zakir Yusuf Shaikh v. State of Maharashtra

Citation: Criminal Revision Application No. 109 of 2023

Decided on: 18.10.2023

Coram: Justice Bharati Dangre


Bombay High Court in the present matter held that knowledge about conspiracy is the paramount factor in determining the liability of the applicant under Section 120-B of IPC. Justice Bharati Dangre took upon the view that mere cancellation of the return ticket is not suspicious circumstance as the applicant was not aware about the conspiracy to transport the children illegally to USA. Hence, the applicant was discharged from the case.

Facts of the case

In the present case, one Mrs. Nirmala Qureshi applied for US Visa along with the application for visa for her two children who were below 14 years of age. She also made reference to U.S. visa in favour of her husband, Azhar, however, it was revealed his visa was already revoked for misrepresentation. It has been alleged that Nirmala had transported two unknown children to US in disguise of her own children and the two unknown children were residing in US illegally. Nirmala came back to India without the two children.

The applicant of the present petition had the role to buy tickets for Nirmala and her two children. However, when he was asked to cancel the said tickets, he cancelled it due to which Sections 370, 419, 420, 465, 468, 471 read with 120-B of the Indian Penal Code were invoked against him.

Court’s observation and analysis

The Bombay High Court in the present matter took the view that mere cancellation of the return ticket is not suspicious circumstance, as it is possible that the passenger might make a request to cancel the ticket of a particular date, but that itself would not amount to an offence, if upon such request, the ticket is cancelled. Further, there are no material or evidence on record that can establish the fact that the applicant had the knowledge about the conspiracy of transporting the two unknown children to US. Hence, he cannot be held liable under Section 120-B of the IPC. Sections 419, 420, 465, 468, 471 alongwith Section 370 of the IPC are to be invoked under the main accused Nirmala Qureshi.

As the applicant’s role was limited to only procuring tickets for Nirmala and her two children, he had no knowledge or involvement in the conspiracy to transport the children illegally to US. Therefore, the Bombay High Court discharged the applicant from the case.

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Written by- Amrita Rout

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