The question as to whether the accused had common intention to commit a murder should be judged on the basis of given circumstances as no hard and fast rule can be laid for the purpose, the Supreme Court has said.
Rejecting the appeal of a murder accused against his conviction, a Bench of Justices SB Sinha and Markandeya Katju held that courts should decide the "common intention" of the accused on the basis of each specific case and circumstances surrounding the crime.
According to the prosecution, the main accused Badri along with three others — Devsingh, Varsingh and Antar Singh barged into the house of a woman Keshrabai and hacked her to death in front of the deceased's teenaged daughter Annubai.
Based on various evidences the sessions court and later the Madhya Pradesh High Court sentenced the four to life imprisonment under IPC sections 302 (murder) and 34 (common intention).
Antar Singh challenged his conviction on the ground that it was Badri who allegedly hacked the woman to death whereas the other accused were only passively present at the scene of offence as such his conviction was untenable.
However, the apex court rejected the argument and held the view that the question of common intention must be judged having regard to the facts and circumstances of each case.
Observing that "no hard and fast rule can be laid therefore," the Bench pointed out that the deceased suffered as many as eight injuries after the four entered the house with deadly weapons and committed the crime.
Pointing out that the eight injuries were inflicted in quick succession on the defenceless woman, the court held that the manner in which the crime was committed showed that the four accused had a common intention to kill Keshrabai.