Abetment under the criminal law

Section 110 in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973
Provoking, encouraging and aiding anyone for doing any criminal act which is punishable by law is known as abetment. This article talks about chapter V of Indian Penal Code, 1860 i.e Abetment. Criminal Law in itself is very clear while imparting any kind of punishment and holding anyone liable under any kind of offences.
Chapter V of Indian Penal Code, 1860 is the first offence which starts in Indian Penal Code, 1860 stating that the mastermind behind the commission of offence should not be set free on the mere ground that the actus rea has not been done by the person behind the offence committed or yet to be committed. The concept of abetment has widens the scope of criminal law to incorporate these criminal intension and penalize them according to the provision laid down under chapter V of Indian Penal Code, 1860.
There are four stages of crime which is read as below:
1. For any offence being committed or instigates other for there commission there should be a human being, Human being plays an important role in any kind of criminal act being done by himself or either made other to do so and be liable for the same.

2. Intension and knowledge plays and important role in any criminal act being done by human being. However a non- criminal behavior as simple as buying a knife for household use becomes criminal when there is any kind of criminal intension behind getting the knife. Non of the act can be considered itself a crime if done with guilty mind.

3. After the formation of an intension mere execution is necessary which is followed by actus rea i.e. the act done in return of the intension formed causing injury to others.

4. Last stage is the offense itself which is the result of any kind of criminal intention and criminal act punishable under law. Eg: Murder, Rape, Robbery, etc.
So , in middle of the above four stages abetment may take place i.e. at the very initial stage of planning where the intension is develop by one person but the act is done by other as a result of instigation for the commission of an offence. Abetment is a substantive offence where the commission of offence is not considered, one is held liable for mere instigating, conspiring and aiding other for the commission of the offence.
Section 107-120 of Indian Penal Code 1860, talks about abetment. According to section 107 which explains the meaning of abetment, in general to abets means to instigate, to help, to encourage to put in execution his criminal intension. Abetment consist of three act which is laid down in section 107:
1. Abetment by instigation:In common it is said that one can motivate other in two possible ways which is motivating one for good cause and motivating other for bad cause which is abetment by instigation and hence, held liable for such instigation irrespective of the act abetted be committed or not.A person “instigate” the doing of a thing who by willful misrepresent, or willful concealment of a material fact which he is bound to disclose, voluntarily causes or procure , or attempt to cause or procure a thing to be done. This is known as abetment by instigation.

Illustration:A, a public officer, is authorized by a warrant by court of justice to apprehend Z. B, knowing that fact that C is not Z, willful represent to A that C is Z ,and thereby intentionally causes A to apprehend C. Here B abets by instigation the apprehension of C.

2. Abetment by conspiracy:Abetment by conspiracy involves engaging with one or more person in any conspiracy for the doing of that thing, if an act or illegal omission takes in pursuance of that conspiracy. Abetment by conspiracy is only said to be done when there is conspiracy done between two or more person for commission of an criminal act, if act committed will amount to abetment by conspiracy, if the same is not committed will amount to conspiracy and will be punishable under section 120A and not for abetment by conspiracy.

3. Abetment by aid:The third kind of abetment is abetment by intentionally aiding (by an act or illegal omission) the doing of any criminal offence. Explanation 2 to section 107 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 110: Punishment of abetment if person abetted does act with different intension from that of the abettor:==
This section laid down the provision for punishment of abettee i.e. the person abetted, if does the act with different knowledge or intension from that of the abettor, be punished with the punishment provided for the offence which would have been committed if the act has been done with the same intension and knowledge of the abettor. The person abetted for the commission of an offence and commit and act cannot take a defense mere on the ground that the act done in the consequences of the abetment is done with different intension and knowledge from that of abettor, he will be equally liable for the punishment. According as offence abetted is cognizable or non- cognizable, bailable or non- bailable, triable by court and non- compoundable.
Case Laws:
1. SheoDail Mal, 1894:==This case held that instigation may be direct or it may be through letter. Where A writes a letter to B instigating thereby to murder C, the offence of abetment by instigation is complete as soon as the contents of letter becomes now to B.

2. Queen vs Mohit:==A women prepared herself to become sutti in the presence of the accused persons. They followed here up tothe pyre and stood by her step sons crying “Ram Ram”. One of the accused also admitted that he told the women to say “Ram Ram”. It was held that all those that followed her to the pyre and stood by her crying “Ram Ram” would be guilty of abetment as the actively abetted her.

3. Pandala Venkatasami 1881:==It was held that if a person prepares, in conjunctionwith others a copy of an intended false document and buys a stamp paper for the purpose of writing such a false document and also ask for information as to fact to be inserted in such false document, he would be guilty for abetment of forgery because these are the acts done to facilitate the commission of the offence.

Abetment is said to be a substantive offence which is punishable in itself respective of the act abetted is committed or not. When any act is done as a consequences of instigation, conspiracy and aid, the person performing such act is held liable under Indian Penal Code, 1860 but the person behind the commission of an act will also be held liable for abetment as the instigation for such commission has been done by that person.

Therefore , we say that abetment as an offence is just and fair law which enhances the principle of natural justice in legal system. As explained above there are four stages of crime and abetment may take place at initial level of planning and punishable with that of imprisonment or fine or both as may be expressed in the provision.

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