IPC 133

Introduction –
Section 133 of the Indian Penal Code comes under Chapter VII of the Offences relating to the Army, Navy and Air Force. Chapter VII of the code deals with offences committed by civilians in relation to officers of Army, Navy or Air Force of India. The primary objective of this chapter is to sustain discipline and order in Armed forces of the country.


In most of the countries, the armed personnel are regulated and governed under their own special laws. But on instances of serious offences, they can be tried under criminal or civil courts. There are special military courts for the purpose of trying the matters concerning misconduct of armed forces. But these military courts are not allowed to exercise jurisdiction over civilians according to section 139 of IPC.


The special laws which govern the forces in India are – The army act, 1950, The Indian Navy act, 1934, The Indian air force act, 1950, etc. Section 133 of the IPC states that whoever abets an assault by an officer, soldier, sailor or airman, in the Army, Navy or Air Force of the Government of India, on any superior officer being in the execution of his office, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine. The offence under section 133 of IPC is cognizable and non bailable and can be triable by a magistrate of first class.
Section 133 of IPC –
This section of Indian Penal Code talks about what are the consequences a person of group of persons will face in case they abet an assault by a soldier, sailor, or airman or any superior officer when in execution in the office. To comprehend this section in an easier manner let us first understand the meaning of the terms mentioned in the description. Soldier is a person who serves in the Army, sailor is a person who serves in the and airman is a person who serves in the Air Force. Since this section is in the context of IPC, soldiers, sailors, airmen, and their superiors are related to the Government of India.
The section also uses two more terms ‘abetment’ and ‘assault’.
The literal meaning of the term ‘abet’ is to assist, aid, help, encourage, or influence someone to do something specially to commit a crime.Section 107 of Indian Penal Code describes abetment as:A person is believed to abet the doing of a thing, who:
1. Instigates any person to do that thing,
2. Engages with one or more other person or persons in any conspiracy for the doing of that thing,
3. Intentionally aids, by any act or illegal omission, the doing of that thing.
Abetment refers to an action that initiates, promotes, or encourages a person to commit an offence. Even aiding an offender while they are committing a crime amounts to abetment. Each individual’s involvement varies if there are more than one person who is aiding the commitment of a crime. The supreme court in the case of Kartar Singh v. The State of Punjab, 1994 SCC (3) 569 defined abetment.
Let us also understand the difference between and offence and a crime as these terms are mentioned in the definition of abetment. Offence refers to an act that is punishable by the law, i.e., illegal. Section 40 of the Indian penal Code defines Offence. Crime refers to doing an act or abstaining from doing an act that might constitute an offence.

The parties to a crime can be categorized into two groups – principal and accessories. In abetment, if one person has mens rea and not the actus reus is still punishable.The interpretation of crime here depends on the mens rea. The principal who is the main perpetrator of the crime instigates or abets the accessory to commit a crime. In this section, the abetment of the assault must be by an officer, soldier, sailor or airmen in Army, Navy or Air Force and the victim must be a superior in execution of his office.


The term Assault is quite different in its meaning that what people usually think. A person may believe that hitting someone or slapping amounts to assault. But that is not assault, it is battery. Assault is a threat or an attempt to inflict offensive physical contact, i.e., when you raise your hand to slap someone amounts to assault, the action, and when your palm lands on the other person’s face, it becomes a battery.


The section says, “Whoever abets an assault by an officer, soldier, sailor, or airman, in the Army, Navy or Air Force of the Government of India, or any superior officer being in the execution of his office, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine.


Now let us comprehend the section. If any of the person as mentioned in the section, i.e., any soldier, or sailor, or airman who works in the Indian Army, Navy, or Air Force respectively, plans to assault their higher official and an outsider helps them in doing so then, then they will be punished under this Section 133 of the Indian Penal Code with either an imprisonment as given by the judgment which might extend to three years and a fine.


Correlation between IPC and Army Act –
Section 133 and 134 of IPC makes abetment of assault by any officer, soldier, sailor, or airman on any superior officer in execution of his office punishable. Meanwhile under section 40 of the army act such assault is punishable for a term which may exceed up to 14 years.


Conclusion –
Section 133 deals with the punishment for the person who abets an assault by a soldier, sailor, or airman who were working under the Government of India. It is a cognizable offence and non-bailable.

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