By Misha Kumari
The author is a first-year law student at LLOYD Law College
Before diving into the depths of abetment. one universal question did you ever instigate your friend to do something wrong?
Sometimes what happens is without directly participating in committing an offence may also become a punishable offence.
In such cases, offenders do not directly indulge in the offence. To more about abetment take a deep glance below.
To be aware of ‘Abetment’, we should first understand the meaning of the term “abet”, which means to encourage or aid someone to do something illegal or forbidden by law.
Word abet is elucidated in Kartar Singh v. the State of Punjab by the supreme court.
Section 107 of IPC define abetment as,
If any person evokes, allures threaten, persuade or intentionally helps any person in committing an illegal act or that thing which is forbidden by law.
There is some terminology that needs to be understood first-
Like what is an abettor? Under sec 108 of IPC, an abettor is a person who aids in the commission of offence and commission of such an offence if done by a person not suffering from any mental or physical disability.
Nevertheless, the abettor can escape from liability if there is an express withdrawal or cancellation of the task asked by him.
To charge any person under abetment it is not compulsory that act has to be committed. Even though if the act is partially complete or interrupted, the offence of abetment is said to be done.
When more than one person indulges in committing an offence, each person involvement differs. It mainly depends upon the intention of the person and not upon the knowledge or intention of the person whom he had employed to act for him.
Let us understand by taking a clear example- let say Ardeep and Chawla are best friends. Ardeep procures a gun and hands it over to Chawla to shoot Diana. In this case, Ardeep is liable for being guilty of abetment while Chawla is liable for committing murder.
The explanation of abetment under section 107, IPC requires a person to abet the exercise of an offence. This abetment may occur in any of the three methods that the provision prescribes-
1. Instigating a person to do a particular thing;
2. Engaging with persons in a conspiracy to do particular things;
3. Intentionally aiding a person to do a particular thing.
When any of these requirements exists, the offence of abetment is complete. Many a time a person may commit more than one of these three circumstances in a single offence.
Abetment by instigation
Instigation simply means encouraging or inciting a person to do or abstain or decline from doing something.it can be either directly or indirectly, written or oral, and even by gesture and hints.
Instigation should not be mere advice or a simple suggestion. Instigator does not necessarily need to possess men’s rea i.e guilty intention to commit the crime.
Let us simply understand this- Akshat, a public officer, is authorized by a warrant by the court of justice to apprehend Hisha. Sema, knowing the fact that Anubhab is not a Hisha, wilful represent to Akshat that Anubhab is Hisha, and thereby intentionally causes Akshat to apprehend Anubhab.
Here Sema abets by instigation the apprehension of Anubhab.
Abetment by conspiracy
simply means an agreement between two or more persons to commit an unlawful act. Merely intending to commit an offence is not sufficient for this purpose.
For this, the conspirators must actively agree and prepare themselves to commit that offence, it becomes a conspiracy. one most important thing is that act which conspirator is conspired to commit must be illicit or illegal or punishable.
Let us understand in a simple way- In dowry death cases, the in-laws of the victim are often found guilty of abetment by conspiracy. They can do so by constantly taunting, torturing or instigating the victim.
Even suicides may take place in this manner through abetment by conspiracy.
Abetment by Aiding
The third manner in which abetment may take place is by intentionally aiding the offender in committing that offence. This generally happens when the abettor helps in committing it. The intention to aid the offender is very important.
Let us understand simply- Simply giving food or clothing to an alleged offender may not be punishable. But giving him food, clothing and shelter to help him hide from the police or commit a crime is punishable.
Abetment of certain offences is punishable under specific Sections of IPC or other laws.
To avoid ambiguity let us take a few terms of confusion –
What is the difference between attempt and abetment?
- An attempt is the last but one stage in the completion of a crime. It is a crime “almost” but not altogether complete.
- Abetment of an offence is done by a person other than the actual offender.
- An attempt is an act of the principal in the first degree, abetment of the act of the principal in the second degree and accessory before the fact.