For abetment any of the three ingredients given below is necessary—
(a) Instigation to do a thing; or
(b) Engaging in conspiracy to do a thing; or
(c) Intentionally providing aid in doing of a thing.
The definition of ‘abetment’ as given in this section is general. It is not even the definition of the abetment of an offence but of a thing which may or may not be said an offence. The encouragement of a virtuous act is not the abetment of a thing. Abetment in the Code is constituted by:
(i) Abetment by instigation [Sec. 107(1)].—by instigating a person to commit an offence; or
(ii) Abetment by conspiracy [Sec. 107(2)].—by engaging in a conspiracy to commit; or
(iii) Abetment by aid [Sec. 107(3).—by intentionally aiding a person to commit it.
There are thus three kinds of abetment as stated above.
An act done after an offence is complete, is not abetment under the Indian Penal Code though it may help the offender—Hazarilal v. Emperor.’ There must be some participation of an abettor so as to help or move the offender in any way towards the commission of the offence. Mere concurrence of a person in the criminal act of another without some active part in that direction is not punishable under this Code.
In order that there may be abetment, there must be either instigation or intentional aiding or engaging in a criminal conspiracy. General advice is far too vague an expression to prove abetment under the Code.
Abetment, intentional aiding and active complicity:
In order to constitute abetment, the abettor must be shown to have “intentionally aided” the commission of the crime. A person may invite another by the way or for a friendly purpose and that may facilitate the murder of the invitee, but unless the invitation was extended with intent to facilitate the commission of the murder, the person inviting cannot be said to have abetted the murder.
It is not enough that an act on the part of the alleged abettor happens to facilitate the commission of the crime. Intentional aiding and active complicity is the gist of abetment under the third paragraph of Section 107.
For a person to be guilty of abetment of an offence, it is not necessary that the offence should have been committed. It may take place in any one, of the three ways: (1) instigation, (2) conspiracy, or (3) intentional aid.
Acquittal of the doer of the offence does not mean that there was no abetment thereof. It cannot be held in law that a person cannot ever be convicted of abetting a certain offence when the person alleged to have committed that offence in consequence of the abetment has been acquitted.
The question of the abettor’s guilt depends on the nature of the act abetted and the manner in which the abetment was made. The offence of abetment is complete when the alleged abettor has instigated another or engaged with another in a conspiracy to commit the offence.
It is not necessary for the offence of abetment that the act abetted must be committed. It is only in the case of a person abetting an offence by intentionally aiding another to commit that offence that the charge of abetment against him would be expected to fail when the person alleged to have committed the offence is acquitted of that offence.
In an important case Haradhan Chakravarti v. Union of India, the Supreme Court upheld that where all the abettors except one are acquitted by the Court, it will be justified to acquit the remaining abettor also by the Court.