STAGES IN COMMISSION OF CRIME

It is very difficult to give a correct & precise definition of crime. According to some, everything that is illegal is considered a crime. In layman’s terms, a crime is an illegal act penalized by the state or another governing entity. When a crime is committed, there are always steps involved. There are four stages in the commission of a crime namely intention, preparation, attempt and accomplishment.

INTENTION

Intention is the first stage in the commission of an offence, and is known as mental stage. Intention is the direction of conduct towards the object chosen upon considering the motives which suggest the choice. But, law does not take notice of intention. The obvious reason for not prosecuting the accused at this stage is that it is very difficult for the prosecution to prove the guilty mind of a person. As a result, this stage, often known as the stepping stone to the beginning of any act, is not deemed a crime and hence is not punishable. In the case of Niranjan Singh v Jitendra Bhimraj, the accused wanted to eliminate two persons by name Raju and Keshav for gaining supremacy in the underworld. They were charged for committing a terrorist offence under TADA. In this context, the Supreme court held that from the evidence it was clear that the intention of the accused person was to eliminate the rivals not to strike terror in the locality[1].

PREPARATION

This is the second stage in the execution of a crime. It means to arrange the necessary measures for the commission of the intended criminal act. Intention alone or intention followed by  preparation is not enough to constitute the crime. Preparation has not been made punishable because in most cases the prosecution has failed to prove that the preparation in question were made for the commission of particular crime. Under the IPC, mere preparation is punishable only in certain circumstances, such as when the preparation is for waging a war against the state (Section 122), committing dacoity (Section 399), or counterfeiting coins and government stamps (Ss. 233-235).

ATTEMPT

Attempt is the direct movement towards the commission of a crime after preparation is made. According to English law, a person may be guilty of an attempt to commit such offence if he does an act which is more than mere preparation; and the person would be guilty of attempting to commit an offence even though the facts are such that the commission of the offence is impossible. There are three essentials of an attempt; guilty intention to commit an offence, some acts done towards the commission of the offence and Act must fall short of completed offence. The Indian Penal Code has dealt with attempt in following aspects:

Completed offence & attempts have been dealt within the same section & the same punishment is prescribed for both. Such provisions are contained in 121,124, 124-A, 125, 130,131, 152, 153-A, 161, 162, 163, 165, 196, 198, 200, 213, 240, 251, 385, 387, 389, 391, 394, 395, 397, 459& 460.

Attempt to commit offence & commission of specific offence have been dealt with separately & separate punishment have been provided for attempt to commit such offence from those that have been committed.

All other cases where no specific provisions regarding attempt are made are covered under section 511, which provides that accused shall be punished with ½ of the longest term of imprisonment provided for the offence or with prescribed fine or both. In Sudhir Kr Mukherjee vs State of W.B, 1973, the accused had tried to commit the act of forgery by preparing a false invoice. However, his defence was that he had not made a signature, hence, he was not guilty. Anyhow, he had made preparations to make an attempt to cheat, so he was accused.

ACCOMPLISHMENT

The last stage in commission of an offence is its accomplishment or completion. If the accused succeeds in his attempt to commit the crime, he would be guilty of the complete offence & if his attempt is unsuccessful, then, he will be guilty of an attempt only.

In Abhyanand Mishra v. State of Bihar, Supreme court held that, the movement culprit commences to do an act with the necessary intention, he commences his attempt to commit an offence. Such an act need not be the penultimate act towards the commission of that offence but must be an act during the course of committing that offence[2].


[1] Stages In Commission Of Crime (legalserviceindia.com), visited on 28-08-2021 at 17:19hrs.

[2] Stages In Commission Of Crime (legalserviceindia.com), visited on 28-08-2021 at 17:12hrs.

Aishwarya Says:

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