Navigating the Indian Penal Code: Key Differences between Sections 120B and 34
The main difference between Section 120B and Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) 1860 is that Section 120B deals with the agreement or planning of a crime, while Section 34 deals with the commission of a crime by several persons in furtherance of a common intention.
Section 120B states that "whoever enters into any conspiracy to commit any offense punishable by death, imprisoment for life, or rigorous imprisonment for ten years or more, shall, if he does any act in pursuance of such conspiracy, be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine."
Section 34 states 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."
In other words, Section 120B deals with the criminal agreement or planning of a crime, while Section 34 deals with the actual commission of a crime by several persons in furtherance of a common intention.
- Section 120B: Two people agree to rob a bank. They discuss the plan, identify the target bank, and gather the necessary tools. However, they are caught by the police before they can carry out the robbery.
- Section 34: Two people agree to rob a bank. They enter the bank, one of them threatens the cashier with a gun, and the other one steals the money.
In the first example, the two people are guilty of criminal conspiracy under Section 120B, even though they did not actually rob the bank. In the second example, the two people are guilty of robbery under Section 34, because they committed the crime in furtherance of a common intention.
It is important to note that Section 120B and Section 34 can be applied together in certain cases. For example, if the two people in the first example had actually robbed the bank, they would be guilty of both criminal conspiracy and robbery.