Legal Provisions of Section 118 of Indian Penal Code, 1860.
Concealing design to commit offence punishable with death or imprisonment for life:
Sections 118, 119 and 120 of the Code deal with such abetments wherein there is concealment of design to commit an offence. This section is specifically related to concealment of such an offence which is punishable with death or imprisonment of life.
The section states that whenever there is an intention on the part of an abettor to facilitate the commission of an offence punishable with death or imprisonment for life, or he knows it to be likely that he will thereby facilitate the commission of such an offence as mentioned above, and he voluntarily conceals, either by an act or by an illegal omission, the existence of a design to commit such offence or makes a representation about which he has knowledge that it is false respecting such design, he shall be punished, if the offence be committed, with simple or rigorous imprisonment extending up to seven years, or, if the offence be not committed, with simple or rigorous imprisonment extending up to three years, and in both the abovementioned cases shall also be liable to fine.
The words ‘voluntarily’ and ‘illegal‘ have been defined under sections 39 and 43 of the Code respectively. The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 vide section 39 imposes a legal duty on the public to give information of certain offences, and vide section 40 a legal duty on officers employed in connection with the affairs of a village to make certain report.
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If a person is not legally bound to inform the existence of a design and does not voluntarily conceal the existence of a design, he cannot be held guilty under this section. It must be proved that the voluntary concealment by any act or illegal omission was intended to facilitate or known to be likely to facilitate the commission of an offence punishable with death or imprisonment for life. No conviction can be maintained if the existence of a design to commit such offence or making of any representation which the abettor knows to be false respecting such design is not proved.
The offence under this section is non-bailable if concealment is of an offence punishable with death or imprisonment for life. It is bailable if the offence is not committed.