Elements of crime

Criminologist Paul Tappan defines crime as “an intentional act or omission in violation of criminal law …, committed without defence or justification, and sanctioned by the state as a felony or misdemeanour.” It is an act punished by the state and is harmful to other persons of society.


There are four elements of the crime


1) Human being:

Section 11 of the Indian Penal Code defines the term “Person” which includes the company, association or body of persons which could be incorporated or not. The word person includes artificial and juridical persons as well as a natural person. A judicial person is a legal entity created by law who is not a natural person such as a corporation created under state statute. So, Human beings must commit wrongful Acts in order to fulfil the first element of a crime if an animal commits a crime then it will go under the category of tort and it is not considered as a crime.

2) Mens rea or Guilty intention
The second element is Mens rea which is derived from the famous maxim “ Actus Non-Facit Reum Nisi Mens Sit Rea”, which means the guilty intention and Act together constitute a crime. It comes from a maxim that “no person can be punished in a proceeding of criminal nature unless it can be shown he has a guilty mind”.
R VS PRINCE
In this case, a boy named Prince took away a girl below 16 yrs. of age from the position of father and against the will of her father believing that she is not a minor. He argued that the girl told him that she was 18 years old and the intention was bonafide. the court held that he is liable and cannot be given the benefit of the doctrine of mens rea because this is the case of mistake of law not mistake of fact, taking away a girl below 16 yrs. is unlawful hence he was held guilty.

3) Actus reus or illegal Act or omission
Actus reus is the Latin term used to describe a criminal Activity. It is commonly defined as a criminal activity that was the result of voluntarily bodily movement which is commission, It is as criminal activity was the result of voluntarily body movement and describes a physical Activity that harms a person or property against any human body includes physical assault, murder, hurt, grievance, hurt etc. and property includes theft, decoity, extortion etc.

4) Injury under Section 44

The fourth requirement of a crime is the injury that should be caused to another person or to society at large by any other person. According to Section 44, of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 injury is defined as any harm illegally caused to any person in body, mind, reputation or property by another person.

Actus reus and mens rea both play a significant role in an offence whereas elements of the crime are just a set of facts that must be proven in order to prove that the person is guilty Criminal guilt is an essential element for violation of criminal law. Therefore, Wrongful intention should be present in order to prevent the offences in society.

Aishwarya Says:

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