The Concept of Abetment Under Indian Penal Code

    Edited by: Vaani Garg

    Abetment refers to when a person acts as an aid or a helping hand in committing the main crime. They indirectly constitute the crime. To constitute the offense of abetment, it is not necessary that the act abetted should be committed, it would be considered as an offense nonetheless.

    Under IPC, Section 107 defines the term abetment as a person who

    1. Instigates any person to do that thing,
    2. Engages with one or more person or persons in any conspiracy,
    3. Intentionally aids, by any act or illegal omission in doing that thing.

    Ingredients of Abetment

    1. Instigating a person to commit the offense

    Instigating simply means provoking or engaging someone to commit an act. An act of instigation is an important factor in establishing the men’s rea of the abettor. The abetment of the illegal offense amounts to an offense even though the abettor was instigated to do that act.

    2. Engaging in a conspiracy to commit the offense

    Conspiracy means when two or more persons join together in order to commit a crime. All the persons should act and agree in order to commit the crime of conspiracy. To constitute the offence of abetment by conspiracy, it is not necessary that the abettor should consent to the offence who commits it. The offence is committed if he engages in the conspiracy of the pursuance.

    3. Intentionally aiding a person to commit an offense

    A person who intentional aid and assistance in the pursuance of the act are said to have abetted in the crime. The mere presence does not amount to aiding. The abetment of illegal omission of an act may amount to an offense although the abettor may not himself be bound to do the act.

    Punishment of abetment

    Under IPC, section 109 states the punishment for abetting in a crime where there is no express provision made, they shall be punished with the punishment provided for that offence.

    Punishment for abetting suicide shall be punished with imprisonment of a term which may extend to ten years and shall also be liable to fine.

    Relevant case laws regarding abetment

    In the case of Jamuna Singh v. the State of Bihar, the question of abettor’s guilt depends upon the nature of the act abetted, and the manner in which the abetment was made. It was held that if an abettor has instigated or has conspired with another to commit the crime, the offense of abetment is complete.

    In the case Saju v. the State of Kerala, it was observed that in order to prove the charge of abetment, the prosecution is required to prove that the abettor has instigated the doing of a particular thing or engaged with one or more person or persons in any conspiracy for the doing of that thing or have intentionally aided in committed to doing that thing. In this case, the prosecution could not prove the existence of any of these ingredients.

    In the case of Sanjay Singh Sengar v. State of Madhya Pradesh, the wife of the accused had committed suicide by hanging herself, in the suicide note, she had mentioned about the quarrels and ill-treatment that she had suffered from her husband and the husband’s family. The court had held that that the charge and conviction of the appellant for an offense under Section 306 is not sustainable merely on the allegation of harassment to the deceased. This Court further held that neither of the ingredients of abetment is attracted to the statement of the deceased.