SC: Active involvement in physical activity not necessary for proving common intention

The Hon’ble Supreme Court, on 30th September 2020, in the matter of Subed Ali and Others v. The State of Assam pronounced that it is not necessary that before a person is convicted on the ground of common intention, he must be actively involved in the physical activity of assault.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that:

Common intention consists of several persons acting in unison to achieve a common purpose, though their roles may be different. The role may be active or passive is irrelevant, once common intention is established. (Para 13)

There can hardly be any direct evidence of common intention. It is more a matter of inference to be drawn from the facts and circumstances of a case based on the cumulative assessment of the nature of evidence available against the participants. (Para 13)

The foundation for conviction on the basis of common intention is based on the principle of vicarious responsibility by which a person is held to be answerable for the acts of others with whom he shared the common intention. The presence of the mental element or the intention to commit the act if cogently established is sufficient for conviction, without actual participation in the assault. It is therefore not necessary that before a person is convicted on the ground of common intention, he must be actively involved in the physical activity of assault. If the nature of evidence displays a pre­arranged plan and acting in concert pursuant to the plan, common intention can be inferred. (Para 13)

A common intention to bring about a particular result may also develop on the spot as between a number of persons deducible from the facts and circumstances of a particular case. The coming together of the accused to the place of occurrence, some or all of whom may be armed, the manner of assault, the active or passive role played by the accused, are but only some of the materials for drawing inferences. (Para 13)

Copy of judgement: Judgement_30-Sep-2020

-Adv. Tushar Kaushik

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