TEST FOR DETERMINING WHAT AMOUNTS TO ATTEMPT- PROXIMITY

Stages of crime as defined in the Indian penal code

There are four stages of crime they are as follows:  

  • Intention
  • Preparation
  • Attempt
  • The last stage is accomplishment of crime.

The first two stages of committing a crime are not punishable under Indian Penal code, Both Mens Rea and Actus reus together form intention and the stage of intention under law is not punishable as there is always a possibility for a person who has the intention to commit a crime to drop the idea of the same. In the same way, merely preparation to commit a crime is not punishable under law 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. The next stage is attempt; Attempts are punishable under the Indian penal code. Hence, it becomes important to distinguish between preparation and attempt.

Below are the explanations of all the four stages in commission 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.

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 attempts 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.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PREPARATION AND ATTEMPT

The Indian law, by its various decrees, provided some methods which makes the distinction between the stage of preparation and attempt easier. The answer to this question that at what level the stage of preparation ends and at what level the stage of attempt begin is still very debatable.

ABHAYANAND MISHRA VS THE STATE OF BIHAR (1961).

The Supreme Court answered the question in Abhayanand Mishra vs. the State of Bihar (1961). The petitioner in this case wanted the Patna University to give him permission to appear as a private candidate for an English exam in the year 1954. The petitioner for the sake of the same mentioned that he has been a student of B.A in the year 1951 and he has been employed as a teacher in a particular school. After accepting the same, the university granted permission and demanded a charge reduction and two photos of the petitioner. After submission of the same a confirmation card for him has been sent to the school head master .After receiving the information that the petitioner is not a teacher, investigation begun and it was discovered that the qualifications of the petitioner were fraud and he is not a teacher in any school and he has also been prohibited from taking any university test for a certain period of time. After investigation by the cops it was discovered that the petitioner was convict for attempting to steal when he deceived the university.

In this case, the accused were charged for cheating because he gave fraudulent papers to the Patna University for appearing in M.A exams. The accused contended that his action was only at the preparation stage and not at the stage of attempt. But, The Supreme Court held that when the accused submitted his application for consideration by the university, he had entered the stage of attempted cheating.

After this, the Supreme Court, in various judgments, divided preparation from attempt through the following tests

  • The Proximity Rule: Proximity in Relation to Time and Action or to Intention?
  • The Doctrine of Locus Poenitentiae 
  • The Equivocality Test 
  • Attempting an Impossible Act 

THE PROXIMITY TEST

The proximity test evaluates how close the defendant was to committing a particular offence. According to this test a person can be said to cross the stage of preparation and entered the stage of attempt when he has completed almost all the steps required for commission of the crime but somehow failed to accomplish the consequences he was aiming to do.

State of Maharashtra vs Mohammad Yakub (1980)

  • Custom department got an information regarding the silver ingots according to which, silver will be transported in two vehicles i.e. A jeep and a truck from the city of Mumbai to Bassein.
  • The Investigation team managed to identify the vehicle on national, which was heading towards Bassein. After travelling some distance, both the vehicles left the road to Bassein and start heading towards a village namely Kaman.
  • Both the vehicles stopped near a bridge and start removing some bundles of silver ingots in that village..
  • Investigation team got there and caught all the people. They found 4 silver ingots near the footpath and total 39 silver ingots were found in dust bags.
  • Additional Session Court held it was just mere a preparation.
  • High Court dismissed the petition because fact which were proved by the prosecution do not have any evidentiary value.
  • the Supreme Court in this case held about the proximity rule that to constitute ‘an attempt’, – 
  • first, there must be an intention to commit a particular offence; 
  • Second, for an offence to be committed there must have been some act committed towards it;
  • third, such act must be proximate to the intended result. The measure of proximity is not about time and action but the intention to commit a crime.

REFERENCES:

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