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Section 10 Indian Evidence Act 1872

Things said or done by a conspirator in reference to common design

The term conspiracy means a secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful, a secret plan to commit a crime, the combination of two or more person for unlawful purposes .

Conspiracy means a combination of two or more persons for unlawful purposes.

According to section 10 of Indian Evidence Act 1872, the relevancy of thing said or done by conspirators in reference to their common intention. This section is an exception to the general rule that one cannot be criminally responsible for the act or statement of others.

Section 10 is based on theory of agency, In the case of Emperor vs Shaft Ahmad 1925 31 LR 515, it has been held that if two or more person conspire together to commit an offence, each is regarded as being the agent of other and just the principal is liable for the act of the agent, so also each conspirator, in furtherance of the common intention entertained by both of them

Section 10 contains the following ingredients as stated in Bhagwant Swarup vs State of Maharshtra AIR 1965 SC 682

  1. There shall be a prima facie evidence affording a reasonable ground for a court to believe that two or more persons are members of a conspiracy.
  2. If said condition is fulfilled anything said, done, or written by any one of them in reference to their common intention will be evidence against others
  3. Anything said, done or written by him should have been said, done or written by him after the intention was formed by any one of them 
  4. It would also be relevant for the said purpose against another who entered the conspiracy whether it was said, done or written before he entered the conspiracy or after he left. 
  5. And it can be used only against a conspirator and not in his favour 
The acts or statements of conspirators can be proved under section 10 of Indian Evidence Act only when they are done or said after the time when the common intention to commit the crime or to do an actionable wrong is first entertained by any of the members of conspiracy. Things said and done before the common intention is gained by any one of the conspirators cannot be brought under the purview of the section 10 of the Indian Evidence Act,

Case Law

Badri Rai vs State of Bihar AIR 1958 SC 953, Ramji a goldsmith who was arrested along with six others arrested red-handedly by police with stolen gold ornament and released on bail met the police officer on the road along with Badri Rai, a teacher and neighbor of Ramji and offered the money with a request to hush up the case.

The police officer asked them to come to the police station. Badri Rai came to the police station and gave the amount 500 to the inspector of police. The two accused were charged with the offense of conspiracy to bribe the police officer. The lower court convicted both accused under section 120B of IPC. The high court upheld the conviction, the accused appeal to the Supreme Court raising the question of law that the statement made by Badri Rai to Sub-inspector of Police offering of 500 could not be held as a conspiracy. it was held that (1) the evidence of the conversation on road showed that there were reasonable grounds for believing that the accused had entered into the conspiracy to commit the offence and (ii) therefore, section 10, the statement made by one of them, in the execution of the conspiracy, would be relevant against other. Hon’ble Suprecourt dismissed the appeal.

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