Section 117 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 – Explained!

Since the words ‘exceeding ten’ have been used in the section, the section is applicable only where the number of persons abetted is at least eleven. The idea behind this section is to take care of abetment of class conflicts. Abetment of commission of offence by up to ten persons has been kept away from this section. India being a country with people belonging to multifarious castes and creeds, it is necessary to keep a check on abettors abetting commission of offences by a large number of persons, and to that extent this provision is helpful in keeping such abettors under control.

However, a difficult situation may sometimes arise. For instance, where a group of twenty persons are abetted to commit murder the question may be as to whether the abettor is punishable under this section or under section 115 of the Code. The solution will undoubtedly lie in the harmonious construction of sections 115 and 117 of the Code.

Where the accused abetted railway workers to lie down on the railway tracks in the event of a railway strike, this section was held to be applicable. On the other hand, where leaflets were affixed on walls at late night abetting public to commit offences and the police removed the same before the leaflets could be read by the public, it was held that this section was not attracted even though some of the police personnel might have read the same while removing them.

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