Chapter VA: Criminal Conspiracy (Section 120A & 120B)

Section 120A: Definition of criminal conspiracy.

When two or more persons agree to do, or cause to be done,

  1. an illegal act, or

  2. an act which is not illegal by illegal means, such an agreement is designated a criminal conspiracy:

Provided that no agreement except an agreement to commit an offence shall amount to a criminal conspiracy unless some act besides the agreement is done by one or more parties to such agreement in pursuance thereof.

Explanation.It is immaterial whether the illegal act is the ultimate object of such agreement, or is merely incidental to that object.

Section 120B: Punishment of criminal conspiracy.

(1) Whoever is a party to a criminal conspiracy to commit an offence punishable with death, imprisonment for life or rigorous imprisonment for a term of two years or upwards, shall, where no express provision is made in this Code for the punishment of such a conspiracy, be punished in the same manner as if he had abetted such offence.

(2) Whoever is a party to a criminal conspiracy other than a criminal conspiracy to commit an offence punishable as aforesaid shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term not exceeding six months, or with fine or with both.


1. Mechanism to find out the duration of a criminal conspiracy

Abdul Rahaman v. Emperor, AIR 1935 Cal 316: “…..It is true that a mere agreement may bring the conspiracy into existence, but nowhere is it laid down in the Code how and when the offence ceases to exist. It seems to me that it is only reasonable to hold that a criminal conspiracy may come into existence and may persist and will persist so long as the persons constituting the conspiracy remain in agreement and so long they are acting in accord in furtherance of the objects for which they entered into the agreement…….”