The Supreme Court recently passed an order that established a difference between common intention and common object. It also clarified that what the instances arere a common intention can be proved and what the instances for a common object. Let’s delve more into details to understand the judgement passed by the Supreme Court of India.


Brief Facts of the Case
  • The appellants of the case were involved in the act of murder for which they were being convicted under Section 320 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. On 17th July 1998, One of the prosecution witnesses some persons with lathis, swords and a knife in their hands. There was another Prosecution witness named Kishan who apologised to the accused for his brother’s act but still, the accused persons continued to abuse him. When this abuse was opposed, there was a sword blow in the chest that one of the accused persons had given to Kishan. As per the contents of the FIR, other prosecution witnesses intervened but they also got sword blows from the accused persons, causing them bodily injuries. One of the Prosecution witnesses, named Gopal, who had intervened, had died on the spot after receiving a Sword blow on his stomach after this FIR was being framed under the Indian Penal Code, 1860 where the charges were being farmed against the accused.
  • The Trail Court had convicted the accused the respondent Sanjay, for all charges and the remaining three accused persons were convicted under the charges of murder, attempt to murder anf causing voluntary hurt.  Furthermore, the judgement of the trial court was challenged in the high court for the lack of establishment of the common intention. Considering the evidence presented in the case, the high court had justified the judgement passed by the trial court during the proceedings against the appellant.
  • There was still a clarification required for the difference between the common object and the common intention due to which the judgement passed by the High Court was further challenged in the Supreme Court.

Issues raised During the Appeal in the Supreme Court

There was a clarification that was required by the Supreme Court on whether there was existence of common intention under Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 or not.

Difference between the Common Intention and the Common Object

  • The common intention is defined under the Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 which says that when a group of individuals commit an act with the same intention then they would be framed under common intention in a way that all act were being committed by one individual and the join liability would also lie on the other individuals.
  • Under Section 149 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, joint liability can be established if the lawful object is the same but the intention remains different.

Let’s take an example: if A and B are two people who plan to murder C for extracting money then a common intention can be established. A common object can be established when there is one person who was a part of an unlawful assembly to commit illegal acts.

Ratio Decidendi of the Court

Under the recent order passed by the Supreme Court of India, it had discharged the bail bond of the appellants and the reasons are as follows:

  • There was a lack of sufficient evidence, as per the recent judgement by the court, to establish the common intention of all the accused persons in the case.
  • As per the Supreme Court of India, the appellants are entitled to the benefit of the doubt and their conviction would be unsustainable.
  • The Supreme Court of India has also referred to the judgement of Rohtas v State of Haryana where it said that if an alteration is made from “common object” to “common intention” then there would be a requirement of sufficient proof for the charge of common intention.
  • When the charges are altered then under Section 217 of Crpc, 1908, it is mandatory that equal opportunities must be provided to the prosecution and the defendants for the recall and the re-examination of the witnesses. And there is no equation between the ‘common object’ and the ‘common intention’.


In conclusion, the Supreme Court of India has been successful in providing a clear distinction between ‘common intention’ and ‘common object’ as per the recent order that it had passed after examining the evidences and the precedents of the case.

Contributed by: Abhiraj Singh

Sushant University (2021-26)

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