Crime is a human behavior that is believed to be inimical to social interest. If a person commits Ta crime voluntarily or after premeditation, the doing of it involves four stages. The first stage is when the criminal first supports the idea or intention to commit a crime. In the second stage, he makes preparations to commit it.  The third stage when he attempts to commit that act. If the third stage is successful then finally the actual commission of the offence takes place.

Following are the stages of crime-

  • Intention
  • Preparation
  • Attempt
  • Accomplishment


The intention is the first stage in the commission of the offence and is known as the mental stage. This stage exists when the culprit first develops the idea or intention to commit an offence. Mens Rea is a legal phrase that is used to describe the mental state of a person while committing any act. A mere intention to commit a crime is not punishable. So. At this stage, no offence is punishable because the intention is a mental concept that is very difficult to prove with certainty.


In the second stage, the culprit prepares to commit the crime. It means to arrange means and measures necessary for the commission of the crime. Preparation and intention alone are not punishable under IPC as there is the possibility that the accused can retract from committing the offence. However, the offences of waging war, dacoity, depredation on territories of Power at peace with the government are punishable at the preparation stages as even preparation of such acts is considered as a crime against the society.

  • Waging war against the government of India- SECTION 122
  • Committing depredation on the area of any country which is at peace with the government of India- SECTION 126
  • To commit dacoity- SECTION 399


The attempt is the third stage in the commission of a crime. The term attempts mean the direct movement towards the commission of the crime after necessary preparation has been made.

 Major ingredients of the attempt-

  • Guilty intention to commit an offence
  • He prepares for the act
  • Does any act towards its commission

An attempt is made punishable because every attempt though it fails, must create or cause alarm which in itself is an injury to the society at large. Although the injury is not as great as it would be if the act had been committed but it is punishable because it creates an alarm to other people. Although IPC has not defined attempt anywhere in the IPC it has dealt with attempts in various sections such as –

SECTION 511– This section spells out the imprisonment which is to be imposed on an individual if he or she is found attempting to commit an offence.

Sections where the commission and the attempt to commit are dealt with in the same section:

Sec 196: Using false evidence;

Sec 197: Using false certificate;

Sec 213: Obstruction by a person to his lawful apprehension;

Sec 224: Resistance or obstruction to lawful apprehension of another person;

Sec 239: Delivery if coin as genuine, which when first possessed the deliverer did not know to be counterfeit;

Sec 250: Delivery of coin possessed with knowledge that it is altered;

Sec 385: Putting person in fear of injury to commit extortion;

Sec 387: Putting person in fear of death or grievous hurt to commit extortion;

Sec 389: Putting person in fear of accusation of offence to commit extortion;

Sec 391: Dacoity.

Sec 307: Punishes attempt to commit murder;

Sec 308: Punishes attempt to commit culpable homicide;

Sec 309: Punishes attempt to commit suicide;

Sec 393: Punishes attempt to commit robbery.


This the final stage of a crime. Generally, most of the offences are punishable only after the crime has been committed. If a person attempts to commit the crime and succeeds he will be liable for the offence. If such an attempt is unsuccessful he will be liable for the attempt to commit that offence.

Thus it can be concluded that a crime is not just an act or omission which is a standalone act but several stages are involved in the commission of an offence. Law doesn’t criminalize all the stages of the crime but it punishes when the offence is completed.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

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