• Shreya Goswami

Mehbub Shah v. Emperor: Case Analysis

Common intention and common object are the concepts that are applicable in the cases where the acts are done by several persons. Section 34 of the IPC provides the concept of common intention whereas The concept of common object is provided under Section 149 of the Indian Penal Code.

Common intention consists of several persons acting at once, though their roles may be different, to achieve a common purpose. Once the common intention is established, their role is irrelevant, be it active or passive. It implies a pre-arranged plan and comes into being before the commission of the act, which need not be a long gap.

Section 149 of the Indian Penal Code, provides that if any act is done to accomplish the common object of unlawful assembly, then it is punishable. The offense under this section is the assembly of several (five or more) persons having one or more of the common objects.

Generally, a common object may develop on the spot but a common intention cannot.

Mehbub Shah v. Emperor is the case that comparatively analyzed the difference between ‘common intention’ and ‘common object’ under the Indian Penal Code, 1860.


On August 25, 1943, Allah Dad with a few others left their town by boat for cutting reeds growing on the bank of Indus River. About a mile downstream, they saw Mehbub Hussain Shah, who warned them against gathering reeds from the land belonging to them. Ignoring which they gathered reeds from their land. On returning, Ghulam Quasim Shah, Mehbub Shah’s nephew, stopped them and pulled the boat with a rope and asked to return the reeds. Allah dad picked up the lari from the boat and struck Quasim Shah. Quasim Shah then yelled out for help to which Wali Shah, son of Mehbub Shah, and Mehbub Shah arrived. When Allah dad and Hamidullah tried to run away, Wali Shah and Mehbub Shah came before of them and Wali Sha fired at Allah dad, who fell dead and Mehbub Shah fired at Hamidullah, causing injuries.


The issues followed in this case were, if the appellant has been rightly convicted of murder upon the construction of section 34 of the IPC and and whether a common intention to commit the crime, which was eventually committed by Mehboob Shah and Wali Shah, came into being when Ghulam Quasim Shah shouted to his companions to come to his rescue?


It was observed that Ghulam Quasim had as he had only asked his companions to come to his assistance when he was attacked with a pole by Allah dad and thus had no common intention of killing anyone. Ghulam Quasim he could not have been aware of how assistance was likely to be rendered to him or his friends were likely to shoot and kill one man or injure another.

It was difficult to believe that when Mahbub shah and Wali Shah fired shots they did not have the common intention of killing one or more of the complainant party. In no circumstances it might be inferred that the appellant must have been acting in concert with Wali Shah. If so, both of them are guilty

There was no evidence.

The only point that requires consideration was whether a common intention to commit the crime came into being when Ghulam shouted to his companions to come to his rescue and they emerged from behind the bushes and fired their respective guns.


The Justice said that Wali Shah and Mahbub Shah had the intention to rescue Qasim Shah. Both of them had the same intention. It was found that no evidence falls far short of showing that the Mahbub Shah and Wali Shah ever entered into a pre-mediated concert to bring about the murder of Allah Dad in carrying out their intention of rescuing Qasim Shah.

For the above reasons, the Lordship was not satisfied upon this view and advised His Majesty that the appellant has succeeded in his appeal, his appeal should be allowed, and his conviction for murder and the sentence of death set away.

The Court, in this case, considered whether section 34 of IPC has been rightly applied to the facts of this case.

The difference between common intention and common object explained in this case law were as under:


© The People Bookmark | 2020

  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Instagram