According to Sir John Salmond, “liability is the bond of necessity that exists between the wrongdoer and the remedy of the wrong”. A man’s liability consists of things which he must do or suffer because he has failed to do what he ought to have done.

Criminal liability arises in case of an offence that is ‘a wrong against the society’. In this case, the purpose of the law is to punish the offender or the wrongdoer. Criminal liability forms when the offender engages in an act that is prohibited by law. Such an act is called a crime. To understand the concept of a crime it is essential to understand what constitutes it. The maxim ‘actus non facit nisi mens sit rea’, clearly states the two essential ingredients of a crime; a wrongful act and a guilty mind. An act in order to be a crime must be committed with a guilty mind.

Initially there is an intention or a motive that drives a person towards commission of a wrongful act. The person then prepares to execute the act, followed by an attempt and finally the commission of the offence.

Motive is the ultimate purpose or object that induces the person to do a crime. Intention is the design in which the act is done. The Indian penal code does not provide any punishment for acts in the mere stage of preparation. However, section 122 and section 393 are an exception to this. These hold the preparation to wage a war against the State and the preparation to commit dacoity as offences respectively.

A criminal attempt as observed by the Supreme Court in the case of State of Maharashtra (v) Mohd Yacub, is the third stage when the culprit takes deliberate overt steps to commit the offence. An attempt itself is an offence under section 511 of the Indian penal code. The last and final stage in the incidence of a crime is its commission, punishable under the criminal law of the land.

The measure of criminal liability is based upon three major considerations; the motive for the commission of the offence, the magnitude of the offence, and the character of the offender. Under Indian criminal law, the liability of the criminal is left to the discretion of the magistrate, who decides the same keeping in mind the above stated considerations.

Criminal liability is generally penal and aims to punish the offender either directly or indirectly. Punishment implies some kind of pain inflicted upon the offender or loss caused to him for his criminal act which may either be intended to deter him from repeating the offence or maybe an expression of society’s disapprobation for his antisocial conduct. It may also be directed to reform and regenerate him and at the same time protect the society from law breakers.

According to Manusmriti, punishment keeps people under control, protects them and remains awake when people are asleep. Arthashastra mentions an exhaustive list of offences and the fines charged for committing them. One particular feature of the Hindu legal system was that the punishment varied according to the offender’s caste and social position. It was increasingly severe if the offender belonged to the higher caste.

Under the present criminal justice system a criminal proceeding may be defined as one which when carried to its conclusion may result in; imprisonment, fine or forfeiture of property, or which for the larger interest of the society, binds down the person who is a threat to the maintenance of peace and order. Presently the criminal procedure in India is administered under the IPC, 1860 and the CrPC, 1974 uniformly.

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.

Do follow me on FacebookTwitter  Youtube and Instagram.

The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.

If you would also like to contribute to my website, then do share your articles or poems at

We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs.

We are also running a series Inspirational Women from January 2021 to March 31,2021, featuring around 1000 stories about Indian Women, who changed the world. #choosetochallenge

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