Human behavior is restrained by law. It divides them into two categories: criminal and non-criminal conduct. However, any non-criminal behavior, even something as simple as purchasing a kitchen knife, becomes criminal when criminal motives are present.
The definition of abetment broadens the scope of criminal law to include these criminal intentions and punish them even though the individual who purchased the knife did not kill someone but gave it to someone else to do so. The term “abet” should be scrutinized closely in order to understand the meaning of abetment. Aid, advance, assist, help, and promote are all common definitions.
An individual is found accountable only if he or she has directly committed a felony, in common parlance. Abetment is a principle that differs from the normal concept in that it states that someone who has aided or assisted a suspect in some way will be considered responsible.
Meaning of Abetment
The term ‘abet’ means ‘aid, co-operation, and assistance,’ and it also refers to an illegitimate reason for committing a crime. It basically means helping someone in a crime. To convict anyone for abetting the doing of something under some of the provisions set out in Section 107 of the Indian Penal Code, it is necessary to show that the person who abetted has not only engaged in the means of the transactions but has also been involved with the illegal means of the transactions.
For instance, one person may obtain a gun and pass it over to another, who then uses it to kill someone. The first is charged with abetment, while the other is charged with murder.
Abetment under the Indian Penal Code
An individual who abets the commission of an offence is described as abetment under Section 107 of the Indian Penal Code. This abetment will take place in any of the three ways specified in the clause.
According to the Section, abetment occurs when someone helps someone else do something by:
- Abetment by instigation:
In general, it is said that one can inspire another in two ways: for a good cause and for a poor cause, which is abetment by instigation, and hence, one can be found responsible for such instigation regardless of whether the act abetted is committed or not. An individual who willingly causes or procures, or attempts to cause or procure, a thing by deliberate misrepresentation or willful concealment of a material truth that he is obliged to reveal, is said to “instigate” the doing of a thing. Abetment by instigation is the term for this.
The section’s explanation sheds some light on what instigation could imply in this context. It states that instigation will occur in most cases by:
(a) willful misrepresentation; or
(b) withholding a material truth that an individual is required to reveal.
For Example, a court directs Amrit, a police officer, to arrest Karthik under an arrest warrant. Anoop informs Amrit that Ajay is Karthik despite knowing that he is not. Under this misrepresentation, Amrit ends up arresting Ajay instead of Karthik. In this case, Anoop is guilty of abetting Amrit in wrongfully apprehending Ajay.
Abetment by Conspiracy
The term “conspiracy” refers to a scheme involving two or more people to commit an illegal act. For this context, simply planning to commit an offence is insufficient.
As a result, the conspirators must consciously consent and intend to commit the crime before it can be called a plot. In addition, the act that the conspirators intend to carry out must be unconstitutional or punishable.
In dowry death cases, for example, the victim’s in-laws are often found guilty of abetment by collusion. They may do so by taunting, torturing, or inciting the victim on a regular basis. Suicides can also be carried out in this way with the aid of a conspiracy.
- Abetment by Aiding
Abetment may also occur while the defendant is knowingly assisting the offender in committing the crime. This usually occurs where the abettor encourages or assists in the commission of the crime. It is important to include the goal of assisting the perpetrator.
For instance, giving food or clothes to an accused perpetrator, would not be punishable. However, providing him with food, clothes, and shelter in order to assist him in eluding the police or committing a crime is illegal.
Who Is Abettor?
Abettor is described in Section 108 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 as a person who aids and abets the commission of an offence, or aids and abets the commission of an act that would be an offence if committed by a person competent by law of the same purpose or information as the abettor.
Section 108 of the IPC contains five propositions on abetment, which are as follows:
- While the abettor may not be obligated to perform the act himself, abetment of the unlawful omission of an act may constitute an offence. Thus, if a private citizen instigates a public servant who is guilty of an unlawful omission of duty, he is punishable by the code, the abettor abets the crime of which the public servant is guilty, notwithstanding the fact that the abettor, as a private person, may not have been guilty of the offence himself.
- It is not mandatory for the act abetted to be committed in order to execute the crime of abetment. The motive of the person who abets, rather than the real act performed by the person abetted, determines the crime of abetment.
Example- If X instigates or forces Y person to shoot some person and Y refuses then Y may not be liable for murder, but X is liable for abetment.
- It is not mandatory for the person abetted to be legally capable of committing an offence, or to have the same guilty motive or experience as the abettor to commit the offence of abetment. Abetment is a factual crime regardless of the abettor’s criminal intent or knowledge; only the instigation to commit a criminal offence is required, and it does not include the abettee, i.e., the person of which the abettor abets to perform an act, whether legal or not.
Illustration: A aids a child or a lunatic in undertaking an act that would be a crime if committed by a person capable of committing an offence under the law and with the same intention as A. This is the place to be. A person who aids and abets a crime, whether the crime is committed or not, is guilty of abetting an offence.
- When aiding and abetting an offence is a crime, aiding and abetting such an offence is also a crime.
Illustration: A prompts B to prompt C to prompt C to murder Z. As a result, B incites C to kill Z, and C commits the crime as a result of B’s provocation. B is liable to the same penalty as if he committed murder, and if he instigates B to commit the crime, A is still liable to the same punishment.
- It is not mandatory for the abettor to conspire with the perpetrator in order to execute the crime of abetment through conspiracy. It is sufficient that he participates in the conspiracy that leads to the crime being committed.
When a person commits an offence within the scope of this code, he or she abets the commission of any act outside of India that would be punishable as an offence if committed in India.
Punishment for Abetment under the Indian Penal Code
The idea of abetment being tried as a different offence and punishable may seem strange to the general population since most people believe that only the criminals can be prosecuted. Through its abetment laws, the Penal Code simply sets out the pages, specifying in detail the various types of penalties that the abetment laws inform. The following topics are covered:
According to Section 109 of the Indian Penal Code, an abettor receives the same penalty as the principal victim of the offence since the principal offender’s actus reus happened as a consequence of the abettor’s inducement. If no other provision for the penalty of such abetment exists, Section 109 of the Penal Code applies.
If the abettor has instigated the commission of the offence or has connected with at least one or more different people in a conspiracy to commit an offence, and any unlawful act or unlawful exclusion occurs or has purposefully occurred as a result of the conspiracy, Section 109 of the Penal Code becomes relevant regardless of whether the abettor is present when the offence abetted is committed.
This section explains that since the Penal Code has not separately accommodated abetment as a crime, it is punished by the same discipline as the initial offence. Instigation is not expected to be in a particular structure or to be expressed solely in sentences, according to the law. The instigation may come in the form of behaviour or actions. If there was instigation or not is a question that must be answered based on the circumstances in each situation.
In law, the prosecution would not have to show that the abettor’s true intention was instigation and nothing more, as long as there was instigation, and the offence was committed or may have been committed if the main offender had the same intention and knowledge as the thing that was likely to be done by the abettor.
A person may only be found guilty of abetment by instigation if this condition is met. Furthermore, the abetted actus reus must be performed as a result of the abetment or in accordance with the Explanation to this Section.
Even if the person abetted commits the felony with a different motive than the main suspect of the crime, the abettor would be punished with the sentence prescribed for the offence abetted, according to Section 110 of the Indian Penal Code. This clause has no bearing on the abetted individual’s responsibility.
The construction of abetment laws around the term “every man is deemed to mean the corollary outcomes of his act” continues in Section 111 of the Indian Penal Code. If one man instigates another to commit a certain wrongdoing, and the other, in response to that instigation, commits not only the wrongdoing but also another wrongdoing in furtherance of it, the former is criminally liable as an abettor in regard to the other, if it is one that, as a reasonable person with the intelligence of a reasonable man, at the time of the instigation, might not have been committed.
The recommendations outlined in the previous section are expanded in Section 112 of the Indian Penal Code. It holds the abettor responsible for both the abetted and the committed crime. A close examination of Sections 111, 112, and 133 reveals that if a person aids and abets another in the commission of an offence, and the chief goes on to do something else that has a different effect than the abettor intended, thus aggravating the offence, the abettor is responsible for the repercussions of his principal’s actions.
The central question of such an investigation is whether the abettor, whether he had been a reasonable man at the time he was being instigated or whether he had been deliberately helping the key suspect, might have known the possible outcomes of his abetment.
Sections 113 and 111 of the Indian Penal Code can be read simultaneously. Section 111 deals with the doing of an actus reus that isn’t the same as the one abetted, but it also deals with the case where the actus reus is similar to the abetted guilty act but has a different effect.
Section 114 of the Indian Penal Code is likely to be activated only after circumstances indicating abetment of a particular wrongdoing have been established, and then the involvement of the accused at the commission of that wrongdoing has been established. Section 114 deals with the situation in which there has been an abetment wrongdoing, but there has already been a genuine commission of the wrongdoing abetted and the abettor is alive, and the way it handles such a scenario is as follows. Rather than the crime being abetted by aggravating circumstances, the wrongdoing becomes the same wrongdoing abetted. Clearly, this part is not punitory.
The abetment of particular offences that are either not committed at all, not committed in the course of abetment, or only partially committed is punishable under Section 115 of the Indian Penal Code.
The detention discussed in this section is for a period of up to seven years, and you will still be required to pay a fine. Furthermore, if the abettor commits any crime for which the abettor is responsible as a result of the abetment and which causes harm to any other, the abettor is subject to imprisonment of any type for a period up to fourteen years, as well as a fine.
Sheo Dail Mal, 1894:
This case established that instigation may be direct or indirect. When A sends a letter to B inciting B to kill C, the crime of abetment by instigation is complete as soon as B receives the contents of the letter.
Queen vs. Mohit:
In the presence of the accuser, a woman arranged herself to become sati. They led her to the pyre, where they stood by her stepsons, yelling “Ram Ram.” One of the defendants confessed to telling the woman to utter “Ram Ram.” All those who accompanied her to the pyre and stood by her yelling “Ram Ram” were said to be guilty of abetment when they knowingly helped her.
Pandala Venkatasami 1881:
It was held that if a person prepares a copy of an intented false document in collaboration with others, buys stamp paper for the purpose of writing such a false document, and even requests information as to truth to be incorporated in such false document, he is guilty of abetment of forgery because these are actions performed to enable the commission of the offence.
Abetment is a substantive crime that is punishable in and of itself, regardless of whether the act abetted is committed or not. When an act is committed as a result of instigation, conspiracy, or assistance, the person who performs the act is held liable under the Indian Penal Code, 1860, but the person who instigated the act will not be held liable for abetment because that person instigated the act.
As a result, we believe that abetment as a crime is a just and equitable statute that furthers the concept of natural justice in the judicial system. As previously said, there are four steps of an offence, and abetment can occur at any point of the planning process and is punishable by probation, fines, or both, depending on the provision.
- The Indian Penal Code
- Abetment under the Indian Penal Code
- Abetment under Section 107, IPC – Instigation, Conspiracy, Aid