Illustrations: offence of cheating under Section 420, I.P.C.


(i) A offers a bribe to B, a public servant, as a reward for showing A some favour in the exercise of B’s official functions. B accepts the bribe. A has abetted the offence defined in Section 161.

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(ii) A instigates B to give false evidence. B, in consequence of the instigation, commits that offence. A is guilty of abetting that offence, and is liable to the same punishment as B.

(iii) A and B conspire to poison Z. A, in pursuance of the conspiracy, procures the poison and delivers it to B in order that he may administer it to Z. B, in pursuance of the conspiracy administers the poison to Z in A’s absence and thereby causes Z’s death. Here B is guilty of murder. A is guilty of abetting that offence by conspiracy, and is liable to the punishment for murder.

In a case, A submitted false claims to Government of Burma and obtained payment of money in respect of some works not carried out by him for Government. A was prosecuted for the offence of cheating under Section 420, I.P.C.

A contended that as payments were made not on the basis of any of his wrong representations contained in the reports of the officers verifying his claims, the offence of cheating, if at all committed, was committed by those officers and not by him. It was held that the officers who verified claims wrongly were certainly guilty of abetting A by supporting his false representations.

Though, it may be true of majority of cases that where a person is charged with having committed an offence and another is charged with having abetted him in the commission thereof and the prosecution fails to substantiate the commission of the principal offence, there can be no conviction for abetment.

But there are exemptions to this general rule particularly where there is evidence which satisfactorily establishes that the offence abetted is committed and is committed in consequence of the abetment. Hence, a conviction for abetment is not necessarily illegal when the person charged with principal offence has been acquitted.