Section 34 IPC: Meaning, Need, Punishment, Differences

20 Oct 2022  Read 33612 Views

Suppose four people share a common intention to beat the person “X” as soon as he leaves from his factory. They all arrived at the location, and one person named “Y” passing through them decided to join them to beat “X”. What do you think? Which provision would apply to all of them?

This article covers the concept of common intention. It discusses the need, elements, rule of joint liability and difference between common intention and common object.

What is Section 34 IPC?

Section 34 states that while committing any criminal act involving two or more persons, the act is said to be done in furtherance of the common intention of all. Then, each person would be equally liable for their crime.

The punishment for this offence will be consistent with the crime they committed. For example, if the offence of murder has been committed in furtherance of a common purpose, each one of them will be held liable under section 302 and section 34 of the Indian Penal Code,1860.  


1. A criminal act

2. Involvement of two or more people

3. Shared intent

4. Act to be committed in furtherance of common intention

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Need for section 34

A crucial part of Indian criminal law is Section 34. It creates a general provision that can be applied where it is difficult to determine the precise degree of responsibility and involvement of the parties/persons involved in a joint criminal act, where it is challenging to establish individual liability for actions taken in support of all parties involved common aim, Section 34 aids in determining individual accountability.

Section 34 IPC punishment

Since section 34 is a rule of evidence and does not mention any separate offence. The punishment under section 34 will be combined with the crime committed by the convict. for example, if 3 persons encircle X with a common intention to kill him then the charges under section 307 will be applied with section 34 of IPC. the punishment will be calculated as imprisonment for 10 years and fine (punishment for an attempt to murder), and additional punishment awarded by the court (for section 34 IPC).

Difference between Common intention and Common object

S. No.

Basis of Difference

Common intention

Common object







Common Intention suggests a shared mindset among the people accused of the act, necessitating an initial unanimity.

A common objective is a goal that all participants in an Illegal gathering share.


Number of persons

Two or more

Five or more


Consensus and Prior-agreement

Compulsory before committing the crime

Not compulsory before committing the crime  


Nature of offence

The rule of constructive liability is applied without creating any substantive offence.

A specific substantive offence is being created.



Equal liability of persons committing the crime.

The liability may or may not fall upon all the persons.


Key factor


Active involvement


Joint criminal liability and Common intention

It speaks about the criminal liability of two or more people. When two or more people are involved in the commission of an offence, each person will be held accountable for the act in the same way that it was committed exclusively by them if one or more of them commits an illegal act for the benefit of the entire group. Joint criminal liability is the name of this rule in criminal law.

Each of them would be accountable for such an act in the same way as if it were done by him alone, according to Section 34 of the I.P.C.,1860, when numerous people perform an act supporting the common intention of all of them.

Judicial pronouncements

The Privy Council emphasised the need to distinguish between common intentions and similar ones in Mahbub Shah v. Emperor (1945). That difference is significant and genuine; justice will not be served if it is not considered.

In Krishna Govind Patil v. State of Maharashtra (1963), it was decided that common intention could manifest itself immediately.

In the case of Dukhmochanpandey v. State of Bihar (1988), 200 people intervened to halt 20 labourers working in a field. Murder and severe harm have been committed during the training. Ten people were responsible for causing great harm, and two were found guilty of murder. The court further stated that the common intention needed to be set apart from similar or same intention.


Determining each person's role and motivation in a crime when more than one person has been involved in the case. In such cases, the idea of shared culpability is used. The accused must actively engage in unlawful activity while being aware of the repercussions and having the same goal in mind. The shared aim must be incidental to the accused's actions and behaviour and the relevant case facts.

About the Author: Gurpreet Kaur Dutta | 82 Post(s)

A legal content writer who pursued BBA-LL.B.(H) from Amity University Chhattisgarh. She has a keen interest in corporate and IPR sectors. 

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