Mirza Akbar vs. Emperor was a landmark case in which the Privy Council dealt with the interpretation of Section 10 of the Indian Evidence Act 1872 which talks about relevancy of conspiracy.
- Sec 120B, Indian Penal Code–punishment for criminal conspiracy.
- Sec 302, Indian Penal Code – punishment for murder.
- Sec 10 Indian Evidence Act- things said or done by conspirators regarding common design.
- Here, the allegation of the prosecution was that Mehr Teja, the wife of Ali Askar and her paramour Mirza Akbar, conspired to murder Ali Askar (husband).
- It is further alleged that Mehr Teja and Mirza Akbar hired a sharp shooter, Umer Sher, for committing the murder of Ali Askar (husband).
- Umar Sher (sharp shooter) was caught red-handed in murdering Ali Asker(husband).
- Mirza Akbar (paramour) reached the spot and pleaded that Umer Sher (shooter) is innocent, but Mehr Teja (wife), Mirza Akbar (paramour), and Umer Sher (shooter) were prosecuted for murder and conspiracy to murder.
Evidence against the Accused:
1. The principal evidence of the conspiracy between Mehr Teja (wife) and her paramour Mirza Akbar comprised certain letters, wherein they expressed deep love towards each other and their desire to get rid of Ali Askar so that they should marry each other and there was finding money for a hired assassin to get rid of him. Subsequently, Ali Askar was shot by a man who had no motive to shoot him.
2. Mehr Teja (wife) also made statements before the magistrate after they had arrested her on the charges of conspiracy.
What is the Relevancy of aforesaid two evidences under Section 10 of Indian Evidence Act, 1872?
The court observed that:
- Section 120A of IPC 1860: When two or more persons agree to do or cause to be done (i) an illegal act or (ii) an act which is not illegal by illegal means, such an agreement is designated as a criminal conspiracy.
- Section 10 IEA 1872–things said or done by a conspirator regarding a common design (relevancy of criminal conspiracy).
That Admissions of Evidence related to acts outside the period of conspiracy is irrelevant:
- This is very clear with S.10 that the things said, done, or written will be relevant only then when such intention was first entertained by any one party in the conspiracy.
- That the things said, done, or written are not relevant when the conspiracy is over.
- It was held that the letters were relevant under section 10 of the Indian Evidence Act as their terms were only consistent with a conspiracy between Mehr Teja (wife) and Mirza Akbar (paramour) to procure the death of Ali Askar (husband) and they were written when the conspiracy was going on & the purpose of attaining their object.
- But the statement to the magistrate was held to be not relevant u/sec 10 of the Indian Evidence Act, as it was made after the object of the conspiracy had already been attained & come to the end.
In the judgment, the word ‘common design’ signifies a common intention existing when the thing was said, done or written by the one of them. Things said, done, or written while the conspiracy was on foot are relevant as evidence of common intention, once the reasonable ground has been shown to believe its existence.
But it would be a very different matter to hold any narrative or statement or confession made to a third party after the common intention or conspiracy was no longer operating and has ceased to exist is admissible against the third party.
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