Question: Discuss the law relating to abetment. [M.P.C.J. 2003, U.P.C.J. 2003, CG.C.J. 2003] Or Define abetment and discuss its essentials. [MPCJ 2009, 2011, UPHJS 1978] Or State the different ways of abetment of an offence and discuss the general rules of abetment. Also, distinguish between the abetment and conspiracy. [MPCJ 2011, UPCJ, 1983, 1985, 1997, UPHJS 1984] Or… Read More »

Question: Discuss the law relating to abetment. [M.P.C.J. 2003, U.P.C.J. 2003, CG.C.J. 2003] Or Define abetment and discuss its essentials. [MPCJ 2009, 2011, UPHJS 1978] Or State the different ways of abetment of an offence and discuss the general rules of abetment. Also, distinguish between the abetment and conspiracy. [MPCJ 2011, UPCJ, 1983, 1985, 1997, UPHJS 1984] Or Who is an abettor? When a person is said to abet an offence. [R.J.S. 1986, UPCJ, 1985, 1991] Find the answer to the...

Question: Discuss the law relating to abetment. [M.P.C.J. 2003, U.P.C.J. 2003, CG.C.J. 2003] Or

Define abetment and discuss its essentials. [MPCJ 2009, 2011, UPHJS 1978] Or

State the different ways of abetment of an offence and discuss the general rules of abetment. Also, distinguish between the abetment and conspiracy. [MPCJ 2011, UPCJ, 1983, 1985, 1997, UPHJS 1984] Or

Who is an abettor? When a person is said to abet an offence. [R.J.S. 1986, UPCJ, 1985, 1991]

Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [Discuss the law relating to abetment.]

Answer

Chapter V of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 deals with the offences related to abetment. Section 107 provides for abetment of a thing and the ingredients required to constitute the abetment of such thing by a person are:

  1. Instigation of another to commit such thing
  2. Engaging with one or more persons to do that thing by conspiring
  3. Aiding by act or by illegal omission with an intention to do that thing

An offence of abetment, therefore, may constitute instigation, intentional aid or conspiracy. This Section makes the abetment of a ‘thing’ an offence and not necessarily an abetment of an ‘offence’. This means abettor can be made solely liable in some cases, although the person who has been abetted may be completely innocent.

It is important to note that the offence of abetment can only be established if the existence of mens rea is proved. The provisions related to the offence of abetment require the presence of knowledge about the act and its effect thereof before a conviction can be made. However, the presence of mens rea is not an absolute pre-condition to establishing the offence of abetment as there could be instances where a statute explicitly mentions it. For example, sell of obscene books under section 292, IPC or where strict liability exists in social legislations or public welfare, mens rea is not required.

Instigation

The meaning of ‘instigate’ is to incite, urge, provoke or bring about by persuasion to do anything which the law prohibits. The act of instigating a person could take any form. It may be by conduct.There must be a proximate causal connection between instigation and the act committed as a result. The mere utterance of words, without the necessary intent to incite a person, words said in the middle of a quarrel or in a spur of the moment because of anger does not constitute ‘instigation’. Following conditions relates to abetment of an offence:

  1. Giving approval for an act could also amount to instigation. For example, committing sati where the woman is applauded by the family members for entering the funeral pyre of her husband as an act of encouraging the woman to commit suicide.
  2. Act of wilfully misrepresenting or concealing material facts which a person is bound to disclose thereby causing or procuring a thing to be done has been held to amount to instigation. For example: Where a public officer is authorized by a warrant to apprehend a criminal, and A knowing these facts and that B is not the criminal concerned here, wilfully represents to the public officer that B is the criminal, as a result of which B is apprehended. Here A abets by instigating the apprehension of B.

Conspiracy

Commission of abetment by engaging with one or more persons in a conspiracy to commit an offence constitutes the offence of abetment by conspiracy. It is important to note that conspiracy and abetment by conspiracy are distinct offences. Abetment by conspiracy requires that the act or illegal omission abetted must take place as a result of such conspiracy and thus mere agreement is not sufficient for conviction. However, in the case of criminal conspiracy, the very agreement or plot is the act to establish the conviction of the participants of the conspiracy.

Intentional Aiding

A person who abets by intentionally aiding commits certain acts enumerated hereunder:

  1. Doing an act directly assisting the commission of the crime
  2. Illegally omitting to do a thing which one is bound to do
  3. Doing an act that may facilitate the commission of a crime by another

The mere presence of the abettor is not sufficient to constitute the offence of abetment by intentional aid unless his presence is intended to have the effect of aiding. Also, if the person does not know about the offence being committed then his facilitation in doing the ‘thing’ does not amount to aiding.

In the case of Ram Kumar v. State of Himachal Pradesh,[AIR 1995 SC 1965] where a head constable dragged a 19-year-old married girl and her husband to the police station and thereafter took her to another room and raped her, while another constable kept an eye on the hapless husband who helplessly heard the screams of his wife. The court found the constable who kept an eye on the husband to have facilitated and thereby abetted the rape by his conduct.

The provision which relates to who is an abettor is enshrined under Section 108 of IPC. Section 108 specifically deals with abetment of an ‘offence’ unlike Section 107 which dealt with abetment of a ‘thing’. The section lays down the definition of an abettor as being a person who abets:

  1. The commission of an offence
  2. Commission of an act which if committed by such a person would be an offence under the law

A person is said to abet an offence is clear from below explanations of Section 108.

Explanation 1: Abetment of illegal omission is an offence

When a private person instigates a public servant to leave a crime scene and the public servant leaves a duty which he was bound to do. Here the public servant has committed an illegal omission and the public servant has abetted the illegal omission, despite the fact that the person was not bound to serve that duty.

Explanation 2: Abetted Act Need not be Committed

The offence abetment is completed with instigation and does require the effect expected as a result of it to follow. Also despite the fact that the other person who was being abetted has not committed the actor has refused to do it.

Explanation 3: Person Abetted Need not be Capable of Committing an Offence

This section does not contemplate that the person abetted shall be capable under the law to commit an offence or that such person much possesses the same guilty intention as that of the abettor. For example – an injury could be caused by using an innocent agent such as a child or a lunatic and so the abettor will not be absolved of his guilt who uses such tools for perpetrating an offence.

Explanation 4: Abetment of an Abetment is an offence

Abetment of abetment is an offence in case the principal or the substantive offence is an offence. However, it is not necessary that the offence should be committed.


Important Mains Questions Series for Judiciary, APO & University Exams

  1. IPC Mains Questions Series Part I: Important Questions
  2. IPC Mains Questions Series Part II: Important Questions
  3. IPC Mains Questions Series Part III: Important Questions
  4. IPC Mains Questions Series Part IV: Important Questions
  5. IPC Mains Questions Series Part V: Important Questions
  6. IPC Mains Questions Series Part VI: Important Questions
  7. IPC Mains Questions Series Part VII: Important Questions
  8. IPC Mains Questions Series Part VIII: Important Questions
  9. IPC Mains Questions Series Part IX: Important Questions
  10. IPC Mains Questions Series Part X: Important Questions
Updated On 2021-07-11T12:01:01+05:30
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