Chapter V of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 deals with offences relating to Abetment. Abetment basically means the action of instigating, encouraging or helping a person for doing somecriminal act which is punishable by law. In simpler words, it means aiding the offender in committing a crime.Usually, the person who has actually committed the offence in penalized, but Abetment says, that the person who is the mastermind behind the commission of the offence and helped the criminal or has provided him with any assistance in any form cannot be set free on the mere ground that he has not committed the guilty act. Section 107-120 of Indian Penal Code, 1860, talks about abetment. Section 107 particularly provides the definition of abetment. According to this Section, abetment basically takes place in the following three manners:
(1) Instigating a person to commit the offence; or
(2) Engaging with the offender in the conspiracy to commit that offence: or
(3) Intentionally aiding a person in committing that offence.
The existence of even one of the above requirements makes the offence of abetment complete. It is, however, notable that a person might have committed more than one of the aforementioned circumstances in a single offence.
KINDS OF ABETMENT
Section 107, as mentioned earlier, lays down three Acts through which the offence of Abetment takes place:
1. Abetment by Instigation: Motivating someone for some bad cause is referred to as Abetment by Instigation. The person who motivates the other for the bad cause and instigates him, is held liable for such instigation, irrespective of the act abetted be committed or not.
2. Abetment by Conspiracy: Abetment by Conspiracy means engaging with the offender in any conspiracy for the doing of that thing, if an act or illegal omission takes place in the pursuance of that conspiracy.
3. Abetment by Aid: Abetment by aid refers to intentionally helping a person in doing a criminal offence. Explanation 2 to Section 107 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, clarifies that a person is said to aid the doing of an act, who either prior to or at the time of commission of an offence, does anything in order to facilitate the commission of that act.
Section 108 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, defines as to who is an Abettor. It provides that abettor is a person who abets an offence, who abets either the commission of an offence, or either the commission of an act which would be an offence, if committed by a person capable by law with the same intension or knowledge as that of the abettor.
Section 109 to 120 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, provide for punishment for abetment. Section 109 provides that if a person abets an offence, and the act abetted is committed in consequences of the abetment where no expressed provisions is made under this code for the punishment of such abetment, be punished with the punishment provided for the offence which is abetted and committed. Section 110 provides punishment of abetment, if the person abetted does act with different intention from that of the abettor, be punished with the punishment provided for the offence which would have been committed if the act had been done with the same intention and knowledge of the abettor. Section 111 talks about the liability of the abettor when one act is abetted but a different act is done. Section 112, on the other hand, talks about when the abettor will be liable for cumulative punishment for act abetted and act done. Section 113 further provides the liability of abettor for an effect caused by the act abetted different from that intended by the abettor. Section 114 provides that when the abettor is present at the time of commission of act or offence in consequences of the abetment for which he would be punishable, the law will assume that the abettor himself has committed such offence or act and the abettor will be liable to be punished for the offence committed and not for the abetment of offence.
Furthermore, Section 115 to 120 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, provide for the terms of punishment for abetment.
Abetment or instigating other person to commit a criminal offence is considered to be a substantive offence and is punishable irrespective of the act abetted being committed or not. Generally, the person who has committed an offence is punished under the law in force at the time of the commission of that offence, but the Indian Penal Code provides that the person behind the commission of an act will also be held liable for abetting such act. This is so because by instigating the other person for committing the offence, in a way, he is himself contributing to the offence.
1. Ratanlal and Dhirajlal. (2019). The Indian Penal Code. 1860. Lexis Nexis Butterworths Wadhwa.