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Joint Liability

                            Joint Liability

Sometimes it so happens that an individual does not commit crime alone. Some or in other way, another individual is involved. He or she may share any kind of relationship be it of brother or sister or husband or wife or most commonly friend. The only thing which matters here is the relationship should be present here and the act is done in cognizance to achieve a common aim or objective. If there is a deviance or difference in the objective then that would not constitute as a joint objective. Therefore, when any crime or act is done which is bad in the eyes of law and where it is established that not only one individual is involved then everyone will be held liable who were involved and that will be known as Joint Liability under IPC. This is important to note down here that from any point there is a deviance in the common aim or anything which is done in personal capacity then it will not be known as Joint Liability. And under this, the individuals are called as associates.

The concept of the Joint Accountability is found in the famous case of Ramesh Singh alias Photti Vs. State of Andhra Pradesh. It is a notable case in this regard which happened in 2004.

According to the Indian Penal code, 1860, Section 34 mentions the provision of Joint Liability where it is established that different individuals work for the common objective or aim. It is written as, “Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention’. Here, for the better understanding and concept, Section 33 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 also explains the meaning and significance of ‘act’ and ‘omission’. Also, there is a relation present here which anyone would understand while reading it. While analyzing, it clearly explains the difference between an act and an criminal act. Further, it also mentions the sequence of acts carried out in a way where it cannot be differentiated from one another. It addresses the situations where members or individuals all act in cognizance and it is impossible to differentiate between it. But the three main things should be present in order to held people liable for joint liability under Section 34 OF Indian Penal Code, 1860. They are:

  1. More than one person is involved in an act which is criminal in nature. It is very important because if a single individual does it there would be no case of joint liability. In the name only, it describes it as joint which clearly states that there should be more than one person.

  2. There is a common objective and aim with which the act is done. No personal gain is present. And if that is present then there would be no joint liability and only that particular individual will be held liable

  3. There should be the participation of all the members who are to be held liable for joint accountability. There may not be the case where people only have a shared intention but not participation from everyone’s side. They should be involved in some or the other way or in some or the other process which leads to the main act.

That is how the case of joint liability take place. This is important because if everyone does a criminal act then everyone should be held liable. Why one individual should be held liable. Maybe he or she is the one who initiated the act or presented an idea to initiate it but that does not mean that he or she only have to face the grunt. This is unlawful morally also. This is the reason Court also recognized that when various people with shared intention does a criminal act, they all will be jointly held liable.


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