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Difference between Abetment and Criminal Conspiracy are as follows:

1) Abetment is a process by which one or more engage or employ other(s) for commission of an offence. The former i.e., the person, who

abets is called the ‘abettor’, while the latter i.e., the person who commits the offence with his own hands is called the ‘principal offender’. But,

conspiracy is a process by which an agreement is entered into between two or more persons for commission of an illegal act or

doing/committing a lawful/ legal act by illegal means. The parties to the agreement are called ‘Conspirators’.

2) In the offence of abetment a mere combination of persons or agreement between them is not enough but an act or illegal omission must

take place in pursuance of the conspiracy and in order to the doing of the thing conspired for, but in conspiracy, the mere agreement is

enough, if the agreement is to commit an offence.

3) Abetment can be committed by one or more, whereas conspiracy can be committed by two or more.

4) In abetment, sanction of competent authorities is not necessary to proceed against the abettors, who merely abetted to commit

a crime while in conspiracy, sanction of competent authorities is necessary to proceed against the conspirators who merely

agreed to commit a crime.

5) Abetment is genus while the conspiracy is species.

Section 107 (Abetment):

1. Abetment consists in instigating a person to commit an offence, or engaging in a conspiracy to commit it, or intentionally aiding a person to

commit it.

2. Abetment may consist of conspiracy as conspiracy is a species of abetment.

3. Abetment per se is not a substantive offence.

Section 120-A (Conspiracy):

1. Conspiracy consists in an agreement between two or more persons to do an illegal act or to do an act which is not illegal by illegal means

and an overt act has been done in pursuance of the conspiracy in the latter case.

2. A conspiracy would not amount to abetment.

3. Conspiracy per se is a substantive offenc

Distinction / Difference between Criminal Conspiracy and Abetment

NO Criminal Conspiracy Abetment

1 Definition: Definition:

Section 120A of the Indian Penal According Section 107 of the

Code defines Criminal Indian Penal Code, “A person
Conspiracy as, “When two or abets the doing of a thing, who –
more persons agree to do, or
cause to be done, First - Instigates any person to do
that thing; or
(1) an illegal act, or
Secondly - Engages with one or
(2) an act which is not illegal by more other person or persons in
illegal means, such an agreement any conspiracy for the doing of
is designated a criminal that thing, if an act or illegal
conspiracy omission takes place in pursuance
of that conspiracy, and in order to
the doing of that thing; or

Thirdly - Intentionally aids, by

any act or illegal omission, the
doing of that thing.

2 Example : Example :

A and B made a plan to murder C; A, a public officer, is authorized

letters passed between them as by a warrant from a Court of
to the movement of C. Here both Justice to apprehend Z, B,
A and B are liable for indictment knowing that fact and also that C
to a charge of criminal conspiracy is not Z, willfully represents to A
under this section since there that C is Z, and thereby
was an agreement between A intentionally causes A to
apprehend C. Here B abets by
and B to do an illegal act, i.e., to
instigation the apprehension of C.
commit the murder of C.

3 It is an Act or a Planning to do an It is an act to instigate or to

illegal act by all the persons or provide help to do an illegal act
any of them or by some of them by the person who is so

4 Criminal conspiracy is a Abetment is not per se a

substantive offence by itself, and substantive offence.
is punishable as such

5 Each accused is a principal Abettor is not a principle

offender offender.

6 Punishment Punishment

Section 120 of the Indian Penal

Code prescribes Punishment: Whoever abets any offence shall,
if the act abetted is committed in
Whoever is a party to a criminal consequence of the abetment, and
conspiracy to commit an offence no express provision is made by
punishable with death, this Code for the punishment of
imprisonment for life or rigorous such abetment, be punished with
imprisonment for a term of two the punishment provided for the
years or upwards, shall, where no offence. (Section 109)
express provision is made in this
Code for the punishment of such
a conspiracy, be punished in the
same manner as if he had abetted
such offence.

Cognizable or non-cognizable, bailable or non bailable

7 Conspiracy is cognizable or non-

cognizable, bailable or non
Proof of Conspiracy:
A conspiracy is always hatched in secrecy. It is a matter of common experience that direct evidence to prove conspiracy is rarely


The offence can only be proved largely from inferences drawn from acts or illegal omissions committed by the conspirators in

pursuance of a common design.

2) Conspiracy is generally a matter of inference to be deduced from special acts or illegal omissions of the accused done in

pursuance of the common intention of the conspirators and the apparent criminal purpose in common amongst them.

As direct evidence is generally difficult to adduce in cases involving conspiracy charge, the prosecution generally depend on

circumstantial evidence relying on evidence of acts of various parties to infer that they were done in reference to their common


i) There should be prima facie evidence regarding the involvement of two or more people in forming an agreement;

ii) Then, anything said, done or written by any one of them in reference to the common intention will be evidence against the other;


iii) Anything said, done or written by the conspirator after the common intention was formed by any of them would be admissible.


Not only the intention, there has to be an agreement to carry out the object of the intention, which is an offence. Only entertaining a wish is

not sufficient to convict a person for criminal conspiracy though it may be an evil wish

4) As conspiracy is hatched in private or in secrecy, its objects are to be inferred from the circumstances and from the conduct of the


It is not the part of the crime of conspiracy that all the conspirators need to agree to play the same and active role.

To prove the charge of conspiracy, it is not necessary that the intended crime was committed or not.

Prosecution has to produce evidence not only to show that each of the accused has knowledge of object of conspiracy, but also

the agreement.

It is the unlawful agreement and not its accomplishment, which is the gist or essence of the crime of conspiracy though it is not formal or