MEANING OF CRIME
Crime refers to an act or omission that comprises an offence and is punishable under law. Activities which are not legal are covered under the ambit of crime.
Indian Penal Code: The official Criminal Code of India is Indian penal code this code covers all the aspects of criminal law, this code was enacted in the year 1860 it was recommended by the first Law Commission of India which was established under the Charter Act in the year 1834. According to Indian penal code, two conditions are required to constitute crime and they are guilty act and guilty mind (Actus Reus and Mens rea, respectively)
PUNISHMENT FOR CRIME UNDER INDIAN PENAL CODE
The punishment covered under the Indian penal code is death sentence, life imprisonment, imprisonment, forfeiture of property and fine. Section 53 of IPC provides for the following punishment for crime
ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF CRIME
There are four essential elements that are required to constitute a crime they are as follows
- A human being
- Mens Rea (guilty mind)
- Actus reus (guilty act)
Human being: The very first essential element of a crime is human being, any act or omission which is punishable by law is covered under the category of crime if it is done by human being. Section 11 of the Indian penal code defines the word person as any company, association or body of person which may or may not be incorporated. It is not possible to constitute a crime without the existence of a human being; there must be somebody to commit a crime. According to the Indian penal code, crime committed by an animal cannot make that animal liable for the crime, but his master or owner can be held liable for the same: hence the concluding fact is that IPC only punishes a human being committing any offence
Mens Rea: The second essential element is the existence of Mens Rea in the act or omission done by the person. Mens Rea can be defined as the Latin word for guilty mind. Mens Rea is the intention of a person to commit a crime, hence a person committing a crime should have knowledge that his act or omission will constitute an offence and knowingly he has committed the same. Presence of intention to commit a crime is a very important essential for crime.
A guilty act in absence of guilty mind is not covered under the category of crime. The landmark judgement in which the above provision was held that mens rea is essential for constituting crime was R vs. Prince
Actus Reus: the definition of crime begins with the term “Any act or Omission” which means there must be some physical act or omission of some act which has been done by a person. The word Actus reus means some criminal activity or any guilty act that has been done by voluntarily bodily movement, the physical movement may be such as to harm a person or damage of a property, in conclusion there must be a human who has guilty intention to commit a crime for which he has done some voluntarily physical activity which can be characterised as a guilty act In maragatham alias lakshmi versus state of Madras: It was held that act or omission of an accused that indicate his intention to commit a certain definite crime, then he has performed Actus reus to support a charge to constitute crime. Actus reus not only covers the guilty act by a person but it also covers guilty omission, In case some duties imposed upon a person by law and he omits the Commission of such duty then he can be held liable for Actus reus keeping in mind that the omission must be some breach of a legal duty any duty of an individual which is not legal is not covered in the omission.
Injury: the final requirement for constituting crime is injury to a person or the society at large by accused. Injury to a person may or may not be physical, an injury can be caused to any person any property or reputation of person as well, According to Section 44 of Indian penal code, injury covers any harm caused illegally by a person to another in body, mind, reputation or property. The last element is important to constitute an offence of crime, but it is not necessary that injury must be caused to another person there are crime which do not injure anybody for instance if you drive a vehicle without the valid documents in such a case any third party is not injured, also injury may be caused to individuals as well as the society at large.
Stages of crime as defined in the Indian penal code
There are four stages of crime they are as follows:
- The last stage is accomplishment of crime.
INTENTION- First Stage to offence of crime
As discussed in the article before that the fundamental of a crime are Actus Reus and Mens rea. The liability of Commission of crime can be decided if the accused has a mala fide intention to commit crime; the fact has been established that mere intention shall not constitute an offence Mens rea is an important component to constitute crime, Mens Rea may be divided into four levels these four levels are
- Negligence of accused
- Recklessness of accused
- knowledge of accused
- And the intent of the accused
Actus Reus is an act or omission on part of the accused. It is a physical body movement which injures other person. It is very difficult to find the intention of a person to constitute a crime. Though intension is the first stage to crime but the presence of intention cannot constitute an offense.
PREPARATION- Second Stage to offence of crime
The second stage as to constitute crime is preparation. Preparation is defined as the arrangement of resources that are required for executing any criminal offense. Preparation with intention to any wrongful act is not punishable by law, this fact has been established by law but as every law has some exceptions, this fact also has some exceptions, the reason behind preparation not punishable under law is that it is difficult to prove the fact that preparation made by an accused is for the execution of crime or for some other purpose.
As mentioned above, every established rule has some exception and the rule that preparation is not punishable under law also has some exceptions and they are
- Preparation to waging of war against the central government is punishable by law
- Counterfeiting coins is punishable by law
- Manipulating the weight of coins is punishable by law
- Counterfeiting government stamps is punishable by law
- Preparation to commit dacoity is punishable by law
- Possession of forged documents is punishable by law
These offenses are punishable by law at the stage of preparation itself. Other offences are not punishable under Indian Penal Code from the stage of preparation.
ATTEMPT third Stage to offence of crime
There is a very little distinction between the preparation to commit a crime and attempt to commit a crime. Attempt to commit a crime is the next stage after intention and preparation. Attempts are punishable under the Indian penal code, some attempt to commit crime includes
- Attempt has to waging war
- attempt to seduce any airman, sailor or soldier from his duty
- attempt to murder, culpable homicide, suicide, throw suicide, commit theft, wrongfully confine a person, robbery and dacoity
All these attempt to commit an offence of crime are punishable under Indian penal code. The very difference between preparation to commit crime and attempt to crime is that preparation is not punishable whereas attempt to crime is punishable.
ACCOMPLISHMENT fourth Stage to offence of crime
Accomplishment is the last stage has to Commission of any offence. Successful attempt of the crime leads to accomplishment of the same, every person should be made liable for any act or offence that he commits and accomplishes it as it is the last stage of the crime after accomplishing all the four stages of person will be set to commit a crime and he can be made liable for the same and will be punished under law.
In state of Madhya Pradesh vs. Narayan Singh 1989: Supreme Court held that Commission of crime involves four stages first is the intention second is the preparation third is the attempt and fourth is the accomplishment. the first two stages are not punishable whereas the other two are punishable, in this case the respondent were trying to export fertilizer without the permission of the state government this act was considered as an attempt to offence rather than preparation and hence punishable.
- maragatham alias lakshmi versus state of Madras>>>https://www.lawyerservices.in/Maragatham-Versus-State-Of-Madras-1959-10-14
- crime meaning >>>https://languages.oup.com/google-dictionary-en/
- r vs. prince>>>https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R_v_Prince
- Mens rea meaning>>>https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/mens_rea
- Actus reus meaning>>> https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/actus_reus
- stages of crime introduction >>>https://www.toppr.com/guides/legal-aptitude/indian-penal-code/stages-of-crime/
- stages of crime brief >>>https://lawcorner.in/stages-of-crime-in-indian-penal-code-ipc/
- In state of Madhya Pradesh vs. Narayan Singh 1989 https://lexpeeps.in/state-of-m-p-v-narayan-singh-19893scc596/#:~:text=The%20trial%20court%20and%20High%20Court%20acquitted%20the%20accused%20persons,Movement%20Control%20Order)%2C%201973.
- Punishments of crime>>>https://www.writinglaw.com/punishments-under-ipc/#:~:text=as%20per%20section%2053%20of,forfeiture%20of%20property%20and%20fine.
- essential elements of crime>>>https://www.writinglaw.com/crime-ipc-definition/
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