Abetment is constituted by abetting a person to commit a crime or an offense and engaging in a conspiracy or intentionally including a person to commit a crime.

This article talks about abetment in the Indian Penal Code. Abetment in IPC is provoking, encouraging, and aiding anyone to do a crime or a criminal act punishable by law. This article also aims to focus on the meaning and concept of criminal conspiracy and discuss chapter V of the IPC. 

Chapter V of the IPC states that if a person has conspired in a crime, then the person is not eligible to be set free of charges on any grounds, even if the person has not committed the crime. The law of abetment has spread the law wider to include these offensive intentions and penalise.

Four stages to crime

  1. For any crime to be committed, or abet others to commit the crime, should be done by a person, as human beings play an essential part in any offence, or criminal act committed by them or making others do so and will be liable for the same.
  2. The second stage of any crime is intention and knowledge. It plays a vital role in any criminal act committed by a human being. Any act can become criminal if the intention of that act is to cause harm to others. 
  3. After forming the intention and gaining knowledge, an execution or attempt is necessary, as the act has resulted from the intention of causing harm to others.
  4. The last stage of a crime is the crime itself, which is the outcome of any type of criminal activity that is seen as an offence under criminal law.

Abetment can take place in the middle of any of the stages mentioned above, in an act that is criminal from the first stage itself, i.e, conspiring or planning – where one person develops the intention and knowledge, and the other person commits the crime.

What is Abetment?

Abetment lies under sections 107 – 120 of the Indian Penal Code. The meaning of abetment lies under section 107. It means to abet, instigate, help, and encourage to execute a criminal intention. Abetment consists of three acts which are under section 107:

  • Abetment by instigation: Abetment by instigation takes place when a person is intimidated, encouraged, motivated, or pushed to commit a crime. Instigation can be direct or indirect but actively encourages the person to commit the act. 
  • Abetment by conspiracy: Abetment by conspiracy takes place when two or more people are engaged in conspiring and executing a criminal act. However, even if one or more people, in the same act, are not a part of the execution of the act, it will still fall under abetment by conspiracy for engaging in the conspiracy.
  • Abetment by aid: This last kind of abetment is abetment by aid where a person knowingly aids the crime or by the omission of a legal act. However, aiding an offender without knowledge, would not be considered abetment by aid. 

Who is called an abettor?

Section 108 of the Indian Penal Code states that a person who abets either the commission of a crime or commission of an act that would be an offence is called an abettor.

Five propositions in section 108 of the Indian Penal Code are as follows:

  • The subsiding of an act’s illegal omission or failure may amount to an offence, even though the abettor may not be bound to that act. If a public servant is guilty of illegal action or if a private person instigates him and he abets the offence, it makes the public servant guilty. 
  • To constitute abetment, it is not necessary for the act to have been committed. The crime of abetment depends upon the intention of the offender who abets and not upon the actual actions done by the abetted.
  • The third provision is that the person doesn’t need to be capable by law of committing an offence or crying or having the same intentions or knowledge as the abettor. Abetment is a significant offence, irrespective of the criminal intent or knowledge to be the same as that of abettor; just mere instigation to commit a criminal offence is necessary, either capable by law or not.
  • When the abetment of an offence is a crime, the abatement of such an abetment is also a crime.
  • To constitute the offence of abetment by conspiracy, it is not necessary that the abettor is sure of a concert offence with the person who commits it. It is enough if the person engages in the conspiracy in pursuance.


Abetment as a provision is sufficient both from the view of offence and the penalty for the offender of abetment. However, looking at the current scenario and growing technology in our country, the legislation of India has been trying to add required changes in the provision. Through the IT act, 2008, the section has been amended to give a wider meaning to act and omission by the use of encryption or any electronic method.


Frequently asked questions

Get answers to the most common queries related to the UPSC Examination Preparation.

What are the different mediums of abetment?

Ans. The different mediums of abetment are: ...Read full

What is abetment?

Ans. Abetment is constituted by abetting a person to commit a crime or an offence and engaging in a conspira...Read full

How many stages are there in a crime?

Ans. There are four stages in any crime: intention, preparation, attempt, and completion....Read full

What is the IT act, 2008?

Ans. The Information Technology Amendment Act was passed in October 2008, by the Indian parliament to regula...Read full