- Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code refers to common intention. It says that when a criminal act is done by several persons in furtherance of the common intention of all, each of such persons is liable for that act in the same manner as if it were done by him alone. Common object is dealt within Section 149 of IPC. If an offence is committed by any member of an unlawful assembly in prosecution of the common object of that assembly, or such as the members of that assembly knew to be likely to be committed in prosecution of that object, every person who, at the time of the committing of that offence, is a member of the same assembly, is guilty of that offence.
- Common intention requires that the number of persons should be more than one. At least 5 persons are necessary for common object.[Sec.141]
- Common intention does not create a specific and substantive offence. It states a rule of law which is read with other substantive offences. No punishments can be solely based on this sections. Common object on the other hand creates a specific and substantive offence.
- Common intention may be of any form where common object must be one of the five objects specified in Section 141 of IPC.
- In common intention prior meeting of minds is necessary. But it is not a requirement under Common object. The only requirement is that there must be 5 or more persons forming an unlawful assembly.
- Substantive offence under S.141 of the IPC, of unlawful assembly, is also involved in S.149. But S.34 contains only a rule of law. So while specific charge is necessary for S.149 that is not necessary in the case of S.34.
Mohanan v. State of Kerala
2000 (2) KLT 562
Hon’ble The Chief Justice Mr. Justice Arijit Pasayat & Hon’ble Mr. Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan
Relied on AIR 1956 SC 731
“Common object” is different from a ‘common intention’ as it does not require a prior concert and a common meeting of minds before the attack. It is enough if each has the same object in view and their number is five or more and that they act as an assembly to achieve that object. The ‘common object’ of an assembly is to
be ascertained from the acts and language of the members composing it and from a consideration of all the surrounding circumstances. It may be gathered from the course of conduct adopted by the members of the assembly. What the common object of the unlawful assembly is at a particular stage of the incident is essentially a question of fact to be determined, keeping in view the nature of the assembly, the arms carried by the members and the behaviour of the members at or near the scene of the incident. It is not necessary under law that in all cases of unlawful assembly, with an unlawful common object, the same must be translated into
action or be successful. Under the Explanation to S. 141, an assembly which was not unlawful when it was assembled, may subsequently become unlawful. It is not necessary that the intention or the purpose which is necessary to render an assembly an unlawful one comes into existence at the outset. The time of forming an unlawful intent is not material. An assembly which, at its commencement or even for sometime thereafter, is lawful, may subsequently become unlawful. In other words, it can develop during the course of incident at the spot instantly. (para. 12)