December 13, 2023
A statue of Lady Justice

The law regulates how people behave. It divides their behaviors into categories: criminal and non-criminal. But when there are illicit motives behind any behavior, even something as innocent as purchasing a knife for your kitchen, it turns into a crime.

The idea of abetment broadens the definition of criminal law to include these unlawful intents and punish the individual who purchased the knife, even if they did not actually kill someone but rather gave it to someone else to do so. A close examination of the term “abet” is necessary in order to comprehend the meaning of abetment. Its general meaning is to support, encourage, help, advance, and help.

what is abetment in law?

The Indian Penal Code of 1860, discusses abetment in Sections 107-120.  Section 107- Section 120 comprise of abetment section in ipc. In general, to abet is to incite, assist, or encourage someone to carry out their unlawful intention, according to section 107, which defines the term.

types of abetment in ipc

According to the Section 107, aiding and abetting occurs when someone does any one type of the following:

  • encouraging someone to carry out that action; or
  • taking part in a plot to carry out that action with another person or people; or
  • purposefully helping someone to carry out that action.

provisions of abetment in ipc

Section 107 lays out the three provisions that comprise abetment in ipc:

Abetment by Instigation:

  • It is a popular belief that there are two ways to motivate someone else: either for a good cause or a bad one. In the latter case, one is considered to be guilty of abetment by instigation and may be held accountable for the act whether it was intentionally caused or not. 
  • A person voluntarily causes or procures, or attempts to cause or procure, the doing of a thing by deliberate misrepresentation, or deliberate suppression of a material truth that he is required to disclose.
  • For Example: A warrant from a court of justice permits A, a public official, to detain Z. B purposefully leads A to suspect C by pretending to be Z when in reality B is aware that C is not Z. In this case, B helps by encouraging C to be apprehended.

Abetment by Conspiracy

  • A fundamental definition of conspiracy is an arrangement between two or more people to carry out an illegal conduct. For this reason, mere intent to conduct an offense is insufficient.
  • Therefore, for there to be a conspiracy, the participants must voluntarily decide to commit the crime and get ready to do so. In addition, the act that the conspirators want to carry out needs to be forbidden or punished.
  • For Example: The victim’s in-laws are frequently found guilty of abetment by conspiracy in dowry death cases. They might achieve this by continuously making fun of, abusing, or intimidating the victim. Suicides can also occur in this way when there is a conspiracy to aid in them.

Abetment by Aid:

  • Intentionally helping the perpetrator carry out the crime is the third way that abetment can occur. This typically occurs when the offender aids in the commission of the crime or enables it.
  • It is crucial to have the intention of helping the offender.
  • For Example: The marriage ceremony between a man and an unmarried woman was officiated by a priest. In this case, the priest is accountable for both deliberate assistance and abetment by aid.

punishment for abetment in ipc

  • The Indian Penal Code, Section 109, describes the penalties for abetment. According to this provision, if someone helps another person commit a crime and that particular crime is carried out as a result of the assistance, the abettor will be punished according to the guidelines for that crime.
  • For Example: If Rajiv provokes Mohit to murder and Mohit kills because of Rajiv’s provocation, then Rajiv may face the same sentence as specified for murder under the Indian Penal Code.
  • The severity of the offense committed determines the punishment for aiding and abetting. The abettor may be sentenced to three years in imprisonment, a fine, or both if their actions cause a minor offense to be committed. Abettor risk life in prison or a maximum of ten years in jail, in addition to a fine, if their actions encourage the commission of a major offense.

abetment in ipc: Case Rulings

  • In the case of SheoDail Mal, it was held that abetment might occur directly or through a letter. The crime of abetment by instigation is committed when A writes a letter to B encouraging B to murder C. This occurs as soon as B learns of the contents of the letter.
  • In the case of Pandala Venkatasami, it was decided that someone would be guilty of aiding and abetting forgery if they prepared a copy of a purposefully false document in cooperation with others, purchased stamp paper to write the document, and requested information to be included in the document. These actions were taken to make the offense easier to commit.

The concept of natural justice, which calls for a penalty for upholding reasonable and equitable laws, is the foundation for the offense of abutment. Jurisprudence dictates that the primary criminal and those who participated in the crime will receive the same punishment.

In terms of the offense and the punishment for those who aid and abet, the clause on abetment has proven adequate. But in light of the state of affairs and technological advancements, Indian legislation has attempted to make the necessary modifications to this clause.

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