Legal Provisions Regarding “Abetment of a Thing” in India – Section 107 of IPC

Sec. 107. Abetment of a thing:

A person abets the doing of a thing, who,—

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Firstly:

Instigates any person to do that thing; or

Secondly:

Engages with one or more other person or persons in any conspiracy for the doing of that thing, if an act or illegal omission takes place in pursuance of that conspiracy, and in order to the doing of that thing; or

Thirdly:

Intentionally aids, by any act or illegal omission, the doing of that thing.

Explanation-1:

A person who, by wilful misrepresentation, or by wilful concealment of a material fact which he is bound to disclose, voluntarily causes or procures, or attempts to cause or procure, a thing to be done, is said to instigate the doing of that thing.

Illustration:

A, a public officer, is authorized by a warrant from a Court of Justice to apprehend Z. B, knowing that fact and also that C is not Z, willfully represents to A, that C is Z, and thereby intentionally causes A to apprehend C. Here B abets by instigation the apprehension of C.

Explanation-2:

Whoever, either prior to or at the time of the commission of an act, does anything in order to facilitate the commission of that act, and thereby facilitates the commission thereof, is said to aid the doing of that act.

Important Points:

A- Sec. 107 explains the abetment in three ways, (i) instigation; (ii) conspiracy; or (iii) intentional aid.

B. Abetment by instigation:

First Clause of Sec. 107 explains “abetment by instigation”. The word instigation means urge on incites, bring about by persuasion, provoke. A person is said to instigate another to do an act when he actively suggests or stimulates him to do the act by any means or language direct or indirect, whether it takes the form of express solicitation or of hints, insinuation or encouragement. A wilful misrepresentation or a wilful concealment of a fact amounts to an offence of abetment.

C. Abetment by conspiracy:

Second Clause of Sec. 107 explains about the “abetment by conspiracy”. A person abets the doing of a thing, who engages with one or more person or persons in any conspiracy for the doing of that thing, if an act or illegal omission takes in pursuance of that conspiracy, in order to the doing of that thing. A conspiracy is not an act which can be abetted. For abetment by conspiracy, at least there must be two offenders, a single person cannot conspire with himself or abet his own act.

D. Abetment by intentional aid:

Third Clause of Sec. 107 explains “abetment by intentional aid”. A person abets by aiding when by the commission of an act he intends to facilitate and does facilitate the commission thereof.

A person will be said to aid the commission of the offence either prior to or at the time of the commission of an act, if he does something in order to facilitate the commission of that act.

It is the general principle of law that where the principal offender is acquitted the abettor cannot be convicted. However where the principal accused was acquitted for lack of identity and the abet was proved successfully then the abettor can be convicted.

E. Ram Kumar vs. State of H.P. (1996 SCC 100)

The prosecutrix-a young girl aged 19 years and her husband were arrested by head constable and a constable. They took wife and husband to the police station. They confined the wife in a room and her husband in another room.

While the constable was guarding in front of the room, where the husband sat, the head constable raped the wife. She cried. Her husband and constable heard her cries.

The trial Court convicted the head constable under Sec. 376, and the constable who aided for the offence under Sec. 376 (2)(a) read with Sec. 107. On appeal the High Court upheld the conviction.

The High Court held that the conduct and the consistency of the accused constable were towards facilitating the crime as otherwise he would have reacted on hearing the cries of the helpless prosecutrix, his turning deaf ears to her cries was the finale on his conduct and he must be assumed to have had this end in mind when he dragged the prosecutrix forcibly to the police station.

F. “To abet” means “to help in doing something (usually wrong)”, it is synonymous with instigation, encouragement and incitement.

The person who does the offence directly is called the “Principal”, and-the persons who help the principal are called “Accessories”. Offenders of Abetment and Conspiracy are “Accessories before or at the fact”. The accessories are of three kinds:

(a) Accessory before the fact;

(b) Accessory at the fact; and

(c) Accessory after the fact.

G. Essentials to constitute offence of abetment:

While disposing,

“Goura Venkata Reddy vs. State of A.P. (2003) 12 SCC 469), the Supreme Court held: “Section 107 IPC defines abetment of a thing. The offence of abetment is a separate and distinct offence provided in the Act as an offence. A person abets the doing of a thing when (1) he instigates any person to do that thing; or (2) engages with one or more other persons in any conspiracy for the doing of that thing; or (3) intentionally aids, by act or illegal omission, the doing of that thing. These things are essential to complete abetment as a crime. The word “instigate” literally means to provoke, incite, urge on or bring about by persuasion to do anything. The abetment may be by instigation, conspiracy or intentional aid, as provided in the three clauses of Section 107.”