Legal Crossroads: CrPC 120 & Criminal Conspiracy IPC

January 15, 2024, 11:39 am | Updated January 15, 2024, 11:50 am IST
Legal Crossroads: CrPC 120 & Criminal Conspiracy IPC
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The Indian Penal Code (IPC) is the bedrock of criminal law in India, encompassing a wide array of offenses and their punishments. Among its provisions, the concept of criminal conspiracy holds significant weight, addressing collaborative efforts aimed at committing illegal acts. Section 120-A and 120-B of the IPC deal explicitly with criminal conspiracy and its implications.

Defining Criminal Conspiracy IPC

Under Section 120-A of the IPC, a criminal conspiracy IPC is defined as an agreement between two or more individuals to commit an illegal act or an act that is not illegal by illegal means. It involves a meeting of minds and an understanding among the conspirators to pursue a common objective that involves the commission of an offense.

Elements of Criminal Conspiracy IPC

For a charge of criminal conspiracy to stand, certain elements must be present:

  1. Agreement: There must be a meeting of minds, an agreement or understanding between two or more persons to commit an illegal act or a lawful act by illegal means.
  2. Intention: The individuals involved must have the intention to commit the offense. Mere discussion or knowledge of an illegal act is not enough to establish conspiracy; there must be a clear intention to act upon the agreement.
  3. Act or Omission: The agreement should pertain to doing an act or causing an act to be done. It could also involve causing an omission which if done individually would not be an offense but becomes an offense when it’s part of the conspiracy.

Punishment for Criminal Conspiracy

Section 120-B of the IPC prescribes punishment for criminal conspiracy. The punishment is imposed for the act of conspiracy itself, irrespective of whether the intended crime is carried out or not. The punishment can range from imprisonment (which may extend to six months or fine or both) to life imprisonment, depending on the severity of the intended crime and other circumstances.

Scope and Application

Criminal conspiracy is a powerful tool in the hands of law enforcement agencies to preemptively act against potential criminal activities. It allows for the prosecution of individuals involved in planning illegal activities even before the commission of the actual offense. This is essential in preventing and deterring crimes that could have serious repercussions.

However, it’s important to note that mere association or presence with individuals involved in an unlawful act does not establish conspiracy. There must be concrete evidence of an agreement and a concerted effort towards the commission of a crime.

Challenges and Controversies

Proving criminal conspiracy often presents challenges in the legal landscape. Establishing an agreement among the alleged conspirators can be difficult, especially when dealing with circumstantial evidence or in cases where communication between the parties is encrypted or protected.

There have been debates regarding the application of conspiracy laws, especially concerning their potential misuse to target dissent or suppress legitimate political activities. Balancing the need to prevent crime with safeguarding individual liberties and rights remains a delicate task.


Criminal conspiracy laws in the IPC play a crucial role in maintaining law and order by allowing authorities to intervene in potential criminal activities at an early stage. However, the application of these laws requires a careful examination of evidence to ensure that justice is served without infringing upon individual rights. The essence of criminal conspiracy lies in the agreement and intention to commit an offense, making it a pivotal aspect of India's criminal justice system. For more information related to Criminal Conspiracy, it is advisable to contact a criminal lawyer in your city. For example, if you are living in Kolkata, better contact a criminal lawyer in Kolkata.


  1. What is criminal conspiracy under section of IPC?
    Section 120-A of the Indian Penal Code defines criminal conspiracy as an agreement between two or more people to commit an illegal act or an act that isn't illegal by illegal means.

  2. Which section of CrPC deals with conspiracy?
    The Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) does not have a specific section that deals exclusively with conspiracy. However, provisions related to investigation, arrest, and trial procedures under CrPC can be invoked in cases involving conspiracy as per the Indian Penal Code (IPC) provisions, notably Section 120-B, which deals with punishment for criminal conspiracy.

  3. What is Section 121 a IPC?
    Section 121A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) deals with conspiracy to commit offenses against the State, particularly acts aimed at waging war against the Government of India.

  4. What is Section 120 of the CrPC?
    Section 120 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) pertains to the definition of "Conspiracy" and its consequences as per the Indian Penal Code (IPC). It does not directly outline provisions but refers to offenses committed as part of a criminal conspiracy, which are addressed under the IPC.
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