‘Intention’ occupies a considerable space in criminal law. It applies to horrific acts when it comes to the highest level of the mental element. The term “intention” is not defined in the Indian Penal Code, however section 34 addresses “common intention.” Previous agreement and unity are required for common intention, and an obvious act must be carried out to further everyone’s shared aim. Contrarily, the shared object could be created without an initial agreement. It’s possible that although the unlawful assembly’s shared goal is one thing, the motive behind it is another. Our main topic is the distinction between common intention and the common objective, so let’s first start with understanding both of them individually.
Common Intention vs Common Objective
When two or more people willfully commit an offense together, it is the same as if each of them had done it alone, according to the concept of common purpose. Instead, every single person present at the unlawful assembly is responsible for the crime committed during the continuation of the common object, or a shared goal.
The members must previously perform together to have a shared objective. On the other hand, for the same aim, there doesn’t need to be a preceding concert between the members; rather, the common object may develop immediately upon the gathering of the members of the unlawful assembly, and it is sufficient that it be approved and shared by all.
Difference Between Common Intention and Common Objective (In Tabular Form)
|PARAMETERS||COMMON INTENTION||COMMON OBJECTIVE|
|Meaning||A prior understanding between two or more people to conduct a crime. This indicates that the parties had an understanding and agreement to conduct the crime jointly before the crime was committed.||The purpose or aim of the offense that the parties have contended to commit. This speaks to the outcome or the primary motivation behind the crime. It is the aim or purpose that the defendant is said to have had in mind when committing the crime.|
|Established||Established before the offense was committed: Refers to an agreement between people that existed before the crime was committed, so it is established before the crime was committed.||Established during the offense was taking place: Common object refers to the purpose or objective of the crime that is being done, and it is established throughout the conduct of the crime.|
|How different from Actual Intention?||As we know, the common intention is a pre-existing agreement between people, thus it does not necessarily correspond to the accused’s true intentions.||The common object, which refers to the purpose or goal that the accused had in mind when committing the crime, must be the same as the real intention of the accused.|
|Liability||Everyone who took part in their crime has equal responsibility.||Everyone who participated in the crime may or may not bear equal responsibility.|
|How it is Observed?||Observable from the accused’s conduct and statements: The accused’s acts and remarks suggest a common objective, which alludes to an earlier understanding between parties.||Must be backed up by evidence: The term “common object” refers to the purpose or aim that the accused had in mind when committing the crime, and it must be supported by proof|
|Punishment||The punishment for common intention is the same as the intended crime. Since common purpose relates to an earlier understanding between parties to commit a crime, the punishment is identical to the punishment for the intended crime.||Same as the punishment for the crime committed. The punishment for common objective refers to the purpose or goal that the accused had in mind when committing the crime and is, therefore, the same as the punishment for the crime committed.|
What is Common Intention?
When numerous people work together to carry out a similar goal, each of them is responsible for the crime in the same way as if it were committed by each of them on their own. The IPC’S Section 34 establishes the concept of joint culpability in committing a crime, with the presence of a shared purpose constituting the fundamental element of that liability. This clause does not establish a substantive offense; it is just a rule of evidence. The notion of constructive liability is outlined in this section.
Assume that A, B, C, or D kills Z. Even though A and B offered security, C gave out the weapons, and D killed Z, in this case, all four people are responsible for the act by Section 34 of the IPC. Criminal Law discourages this kind of engagement with or participation in such groups.
- Barendra Kumar Ghosh v. King Emperor, AIR 1925 PC 1 – Barendra Kumar Ghosh and three other individuals committed a post office heist in this case, which became a landmark instance of common intention. They open-fired and murdered the postmaster and fled from the scene but Barendra Kumar Ghosh was somehow caught while he had a gun in his hand and hence was handed over to the police. Afterward, he was charged under IPC Section 302/34, The Session Court and High Court both ruled that he should be punished and executed. The accused defended himself because he had not fired the deceased and was only waiting outside the door.
- Shankar Lal v. State of Gujarat, AIR 1965 SC 1260, the accused and his accomplice planned to murder a person, but a guard was stationed outside of their home, therefore to murder the person, one of the accused killed the guard, which also falls within the definition of a common intention. Because it is carried out in support of the chosen action.
- Pandurang v. State of Hyderabad, AIR 1955 SC 216- Similar intentions are not shared by many people, the common intention of all must be known to and shared by all of them, but if the same intention is not shared with others, it becomes the same intention and each person will be individually responsible for the offense instead of jointly responsible as in the case of common intention.
- There must be some sort of illegal activity.
- Two or more people must do the action.
- Everyone involved in the act must have the same goal.
- Everyone participating in the conduct is responsible for it.
- Each Individual is accountable for the conduct as though they were acting alone.
Advantages of Common Intention
- Increased Accountability: Holding everyone responsible for their conduct after a group of people has committed a crime might function as a deterrence to similar behavior in the future.
- Fairness: Regardless of their amount of involvement or guilt, common intention enables all parties involved in a crime to be held equally accountable.
- Clarity: In situations where numerous people are involved in a crime, the concept of common intention offers precise parameters for evaluating criminal liability.
- Efficiency: By holding everyone responsible for a crime, shared intention helps speed up the criminal justice system and avoid holdups or appeals.
- Deterrence: People who are thinking about committing crimes with others may be discouraged by the prospect of prosecution for joint intention.
What is Common Objective?
The term “object” relates to the goal, and for it to be considered common, it must be reciprocal. No matter whether there was a prior understanding among the co-accused or not, every individual is equally accountable when five or more people commit an illegal act in furtherance of a common goal. However, since every member of the illegal assembly gave their consent to accomplish the common goal, the consent of all is significant.
Additionally, every member of an unlawful assembly is responsible for any criminal offense committed by any of its members in furtherance of the assembly’s common goal.
The IPC’s Chapter VIII addresses crimes against public tranquility which are stated under sections 141 to 160.
The IPC’s Section 149 addresses the Common Object as every person who was a member of the same assembly at the time of the offense is guilty of that offense. This is true whether or not the offense was committed in furtherance of the common object of the assembly or one of the members of the assembly knew to be likely to commit an offense in furtherance of that object.
According to the Supreme Court, this clause just presents the Vicarious Liability of all participants in the unlawful gathering and it has no connection with the fact of whether or not some offense was being committed by someone from the gathering.
This is the Ideal illustration of a common object: there must be an unlawful assembly, and the act must be carried out by the members of the unlawful assembly. An unlawful assembly is defined from sections 141 to 145, and the offense of an unlawful assembly is classified under the following groups: being a member of an unlawful assembly (Sections 141,142, and 143) joining an unlawful assembly while carrying a deadly weapon (section 144), joining and continuing in an unlawful assembly while knowing it has been ordered.
If the people that make up that assembly have the following as their common goal:
- To intimidate with criminal force or a display of criminal force (the central or any state government or parliament or the legislature of any state) or any public worker acting within the scope of his or her legal authority; or
- To engage in criminal trespass, mischief, or another offense; or
- To contest the application of any statute or court order; or
- Using unlawful force or the threat of unlawful force to compel someone to do something they are not lawfully required to do or to refrain from doing by their legal rights; or
- Using unlawful force or showing unlawful force to any person to take or seize any property, revoke any right of way, prevent any person from using water or another incorporeal right that he/she/they have or enjoy, or to enforce any right or alleged right.
Advantages of Common Object
- Definitional clarity: The definition of a common object crime, like stealing or burglary, is precise and well-defined, making it simpler for law enforcement and the legal system to locate and prosecute offenders.
- Recognizable Conduct: Common object crimes are frequently characterized by recognizable activity, such as breaking or stealing, making it simpler for witnesses and victims to recognize and report the crime.
- Effect of deterrence: Because potential criminals are aware that their acts could have negative repercussions, the existence of laws that make crimes involving common objects illegal may dissuade them from committing such crimes.
- Increased safety: By limiting the frequency of common item crimes, criminalizing them contributes to an increase in community safety.
- Easier Prosecution: Common object crimes are often easier to prosecute because there is typically more conclusive and tangible proof of the criminal activity.
Main Differences Between Common Intention and Common Object (In Points)
- Even if the strategy is thrown up in a hurry and ends up being cruel, it must have a prearranged plan and premeditated concert. On the other hand, a pre-arranged plan before the conduct of the crime is not necessary for a shared aim.
- Invoking a shared intention requires the involvement of two or more people. Contrarily, to enforce a shared aim, there must be five or more people.
- Without establishing any substantive offense, common intention lays out the fundamentals of constructive liability. Instead, the common object results in a particular substantive offense.
- All those accused of committing the act are equally responsible if there was a shared intention. In contrast, if there is a common aim, all those accused of committing the crime may or may not be held equally accountable.
- While establishing the group’s liability for some offenses requires proving a common object, proving common intention is required to hold all members of the group accountable for the criminal act.
- A group of individuals would have a single intention if they were plotting a heist together, and a common object would be the intended victim of the robbery.
In contrast to a common intention, a common object doesn’t require a prior concert and consensus before the offense is committed. In addition, in situations involving joint liability, co-accused parties who were involved in a crime are entitled to equal criminal liability under the doctrine of shared intention and object, subject to specific restrictions.