Section 111 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 – Explained!

The section says that when an abettor abets an act X and a different act Y is done, the abettor is liable for the abetment of the act Y in the same manner and to the same extent as if he had abetted act Y. One condition, however, needs to be fulfilled before the abettor can be held so liable and the condition is that the act done, that is, act Y was a probable consequence of the abetment and was committed under the influence of the abetment, by instigation or by conspiracy or by aiding.

Naturally, if the act done was not a probable consequence of the abetment, the abettor could to be held guilty of its abetment. A probable consequence would mean that the act committed could be held to be likely to be committed as a result of the abetment or it could reasonably be expected to follow as a result of the abetment.

In other words, an act which could reasonably be expected to take place from the abetment, would be held to be a probable consequence of the act abetted. The three illustrations provided under this section amply clarify and illustrate this point.

Where the accused abettor had instigated the other accused of beating the deceased when the accused did not have any weapon in his hand but the accused died, it was held that the resultant death could not be held to be a probable consequence of the abetment and so the accused abettor could not be said to have abetted the murderous attack on the deceased.

Where the act contemplated and instigated was to give the victim a thrashing by lathi but one of the attackers took out a spearhead from his pocket and attacked the victim by it as a consequence of which he died, the others could not be held guilty of murder or abetment of murder as the act committed could not be held to be probable consequence of the instigation.

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