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Indian Penal Code (IPC): Synthesizing Intricacies in Sections 34, 149, 109, and 120B

A Comprehensive Recapitulation of Collective Criminal Liability in Indian Penal Code

Synthesizing the Intricacies: Reflections on Sections 34, 149, 109, and 120B of Indian Penal Code (IPC)


This final article in our series recaps the exploration of Sections 34, 149, 109, and 120B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), focusing on joint and constructive liability in criminal law.

Section 34 Indian Penal Code (IPC) – Common Intention

Essence: Section 34 of the IPC deals with offenses committed with a common intention. It goes beyond mere similarity in individual intentions and requires a pre-arranged plan or prior agreement among the involved parties. The provision holds all individuals involved in the execution of a crime collectively responsible for the outcome, emphasizing shared culpability.

Section 149 – Unlawful Assembly

Core: Section 149 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) addresses the concept of an unlawful assembly, wherein each member is held guilty for offenses committed in furtherance of a common objective. This provision introduces the notion of vicarious liability, attributing responsibility to every member for actions carried out by any individual within the assembly. The emphasis is on collective guilt in the pursuit of a shared goal.

Recap: Section 109 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) – Abetment

Overview: Section 109 of the IPC focuses on abetment, emphasizing an individual’s role in instigating, conspiring, or aiding the commission of an offense. This section acknowledges that individuals may contribute to the commission of a crime without directly participating in its execution. It broadens the scope of liability to include those who actively encourage or support criminal acts.

Recap: Section 120B – Criminal Conspiracy

Insight: Section 120B of the IPC centers on criminal conspiracy, highlighting the planning or agreement involved in a crime, distinct from its actual execution. This section recognizes that criminal acts may involve a premeditated collaboration among individuals with a shared criminal objective. It emphasizes the significance of conspiratorial planning as a criminal offense in itself.


This series has undertaken a detailed exploration of the legal intricacies surrounding collective criminal liability in the IPC, particularly in Sections 34, 149, 109, and 120B. A comprehensive understanding of these provisions is vital for legal practitioners and law enforcement professionals to effectively apply the principles of joint liability and accurately interpret legislative intent in the context of criminal law in India.



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