Friday, 18 February 2022



Definition Of Crime: Many jurists have defined crime in their own ways some of which are as under:

· Blackstone defined crime as an act committed or omitted in violation of a public law either forbidding or commanding it.

· Stephen observed a crime is a violation of a right considered in reference to the evil tendency of such violation as regards the community at large.

· Oxford Dictionary defines crime as an act punishable by law as forbidden by statute or injurious to the public welfare.

IV. Fundamental Elements Of Crime: There are four elements which go to constitute a crime, these are:-

· Human being

· Mens rea or guilty intention

· Actus reus or illegal act or omission

· Injury to another human being

Human Being- The first element requires that the wrongful act must be committed by a human being. Section 11 of the Indian Penal Code provides that word ‘person’ includes a company or association or body of persons whether incorporated or not. The word ‘person’ includes artificial or juridical persons.

Mens Rea- The second important essential element of a crime is mens rea or evil intent or guilty mind. There can be no crime of any nature without mens rea or an evil mind.  There is a well known maxim in this regard, i.e. “actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea” which means that, the guilty intention and guilty act together constitute a crime.

Actus Reus [Guilty Act Or Omission] - The third essential element of a crime is actus reus. In other words, some overt act or illegal omission must take place in pursuance of the guilty intention. 

Injury- The fourth requirement of a crime is injury to another person or to the society at large.

Stages Of A Crime

  • Intention-  Intention is the first stage in the commission of an offence and known as mental stage. Intention is the direction of conduct towards the object chosen upon considering the motives which suggest the choice. 

  • Preparation- Preparation is the second stage in the commission of a crime. It means to arrange the necessary measures for the commission of the intended criminal act.

  • Attempt- Attempt is the direct movement towards the commission of a crime after the preparation is made. 

  • Accomplishment Or Completion-  The last stage in the commission of an offence is its accomplishment or completion.

Preparation and attempt distinguished - 

 Preparation in general is not punishable while attempt to commit crime is punishable under the code. 

In Fagna bhai v. State of Orissa, held that in order that a person may be convicted of an attempt to commit a crime, he must  be shown first to have had an intention to commit the offence ans secondly to have done an act which constitute the actus reus of a criminal attempt. 

In order to determine at what stage an act or a series of acts done towards the commission of the intended offence of judicial pronouncements :-

  • Proximity rule-  if the offender has done all what is needed for the commission of the crime but he has not achieved the desired consequences due to some event beyond his control then this is a stage of attempt not preparations. It follow the maxims ' cogitationis poenam nemo patitus' which means that no man can be punished for his guilty purpose. 

Case - R v. Taylor -, in this case ' A' was found guilty of attempting to commit arson as he was detected in the act of lighting a match stick behind a haystack  but instead of lighting had been found only yo have purchased. Even in the possession of match box he would not have been held liable for attempt because it was difficult to prove that the matchstick was to commit arson of haystack. 

  • Doctrine of locus paenitentiae 

  • Impossibility test

  • Social danger test

  • Equivocality test




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