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THE 4 STAGES OF CRIME

STAGES OF CRIME

This article is written by Janvi Johar, 2nd year student pursuing B.A.LLB (H) from Amity University, Noida.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1.1. Defining the term ‘crime

1.2. Elements of Crime

1.3. Stages of Crime

  • Intention
  • Preparation
  • Attempt
  • Accomplishment
THE 4 STAGES OF CRIME

1.1. DEFINING THE TERM CRIME

The word Crime is derived from a Latin word ‘krimos’ which means ‘to accuse’. The term crimes means any act/ omission of an act that is prohibited and punishable by the law of the law. Hence, Criminal law refers to the substantive part of the law that not only defines the offences but also prescribe punishment.

STAGES OF CRIME

STAGES OF CRIME

According to the Oxford Dictionary, – crime is an act punishable by law as forbidden by statute or injurious to the public welfare.

According to Blackstone- crime is an act committed or omitted in violation of a public law either forbidding or commanding it.

1.2. ELEMENTS OF CRIME

To constitute a crime –

  • The act must be considered wrong by the society.
  • The harm caused must be serious.
  • The act must harm the society in general or who need protection under law.
  • There should be a remedy under law.

Hence, the four fundamental elements that constitute a crime are-

  1. Person (Natural/Artificial)
  2. Mens Rea or Guilty Intention
  3. Actus Reus or Illegal act/ omission
  4. Injury- against body, mind, property, reputation

1.3. STAGES OF CRIME

Intention

Intention, also known as the mental stage is the first in commission of any offence. It is said to be a direct action towards the object chosen, upon considering the motives, which suggest the choice. Thus, it is thought made deliberately to engage in an unlawful act.

Illustration – In case of theft, the intention would be to steal valuable items.

The Latin Phrase “mens rea” is used to express the guilty mind of a person to commit an offence. However, a mere intention to commit an offence is not punishable under law.

Preparation

Preparation is the second stage in the commission of an offence. In this stage the culprit gathers all the necessary resources that are required to commit an offence. This stage is not punishable under Indian Penal Code as there might be a possibility that person may change his mind and retract himself from committing an offence.

In the landmark judgement of Noorbibi vs. State of Jammu and Kashmir AIR 1952, it was held that there could be no presumption made that whoever moved towards the border will only do it with an intention to cross over to other side i.e. Pakistan.

However, there are certain offences that are so grave in nature that they punishable even at the preparatory stage. The offences are as follows –

  • Preparation to wage war against the Government
  • Preparation to commit depredation on territories of a power at peace with Government of India
  • Preparation to commit dacoity
  • Preparation for counterfeiting of coins or Government stamps
  • Possessing counterfeit coins, false weight or measurement and forged documents.

Attempt

Attempt, also known as the Preliminary Stage is the third stage in commission of an offence. It is said to be a direct movement or action towards the commission of an offence after the above stated stages are completed. It also means the failure of accomplishment of the offence due to circumstances independent and beyond the control of the person who wants to commit an offence.

Thus, the essential elements of an attempt is as follows-

  • Intention to commit an offence.
  • Does some kind of act
  • More than preparatory act/ incomplete act.

Attempt is punishable under Indian Penal Code as every attempt, though it fails creates fear or apprehension in the mind of the person or the society in general.

Accomplishment

Accomplishment is the last and final stage of any crime. It means that the person has succeeded in harming an individual or society in general. This stage is punishable under the Indian Penal Code.


This article is edited by Rupreet Kaur Dhariwal.

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