Conspiracy is the act of two or more persons forming an agreement for unlawful purposes. It entails individuals agreeing to commit illegal acts together. Under the Indian Penal Code, 1860, section 120A defines Criminal Conspiracy. According to section 120A IPC, when two or more persons agree to commit or instigate the commission of— (1) an unlawful act or (2) an act that, though lawful, is achieved through illegal means, such an agreement is termed criminal conspiracy.

Section 120B IPC lays down the punishment for committing a criminal conspiracy. It states that 

(1) If someone participates in a criminal conspiracy to commit an offence, they are punished by death, life imprisonment, or rigorous imprisonment for two years or more. If there is no specific provision in the law for the punishment of such a conspiracy, they shall be punished as if they had abetted the offence.

 (2) A person who participates in a criminal conspiracy, excluding those aimed at committing an offence punishable as mentioned earlier, shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of up to six months, fined, or both.

In Kehar Singh and Others Vs State (Delhi Administration) (1988) [1988 AIR 1883], the Hon’ble Supreme Court determined that the central aspect of the crime of conspiracy is the agreement between two or more individuals to participate in an unlawful act. This illegal act may or may not be carried out as per the agreement, but the agreement itself constitutes an offence and is subject to punishment.


Eshwar S, 5th year B.A, LL. B(Hons.), Veltech School of Law, Chennai.


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