Crime and stages in the commission of a crime
By swatee shukla
A crime is an act or omission which is prohibited by law as injurious to the public and is punishable by the state. This can be a general definition; still defining crime is not easy because the logic of identifying an act as a crime keeps changing. This is because the definition of crime changes from place to place in accordance with the faith and traditions of different societies. This also changes in accordance with the law of that particular state. For instance, euthanasia is not legal n every country. Even in the same region, the judgment of defining a crime may change with time. For example, dowry and untouchability are crimes now but many years back these were not considered crimes. Abortion is a legal act now but years back this was not the situation. Polygamy and suicide are other examples. Crime can be defined as ‘ an immoral and harmful act that is regarded as criminal by public opinion it is an injury to so much of the moral sense as is possessed by a community- a measure which is indispensable for the adoption of the individual to society.’
A criminal act is the commission of any act that has been defined as a crime in the IPC and other statutes defining crime. A criminal act may or may not have a mental intent to commit that crime. In some cases, the act could be the result of an accident. To establish the commission of a crime. In some cases, the act could be the result of an accident. To establish the commission of a crime, it has to be established that a criminal act has taken place. This criminal act is known as Actus Reus.
Intention to commit the crime, preparation for its commission, attempt to commit it, and commission of the crime, are the four stages that are the constituents of a crime.
Intention- intension means a purpose or design to bring about a contemplated result or foresight that certain consequences will follow from particular conduct. Mere intention to commit a crime not followed by an act does not constitute an offense.
Preparation for its commission- preparation involves preparing for a crime. If a person intends to poison another; buying poison from the market would constitute preparation. There is no provision under the Indian penal code to punish acts done in the stage of preparation, the exceptions being (a) to wage a war against the state and (b) to commit dacoity.
Attempt- the third step in the series is an attempt to commit the offense. The word attempt, as stated by Cockburn, ‘conveys with it the idea that if the attempt had succeeded, the offense charged would have committed.’ To constitute the offense of an attempt, it is necessary to be proved that the person committing the criminal attempt could not have retraced his act.
Commission of the crime- this is the last stage and constitutes the actual act that gives rise to criminal liability. If the criminal attempt succeeds, then the crime has been committed.