The distinction between attempting something and preparing for it has long been debated. 

  • The term “preparation” refers to acquiring the tools necessary to try the crime, while “attempt” refers to the actual action toward performing the crime after the initiation.
  • The act of preparing is not a crime, but making an attempt is. It was noted by the Supreme Court in Aman Kumar v State of Haryana that an attempt is punished since it raises the specter of danger and that a person’s moral responsibility is the same whether he fails to carry out his objective.
  • The Supreme Court ruled in Sagayam vs. the State of Karnataka that an attempt to commit a crime must be differentiated from the intention to do it and the preparations for its conduct.


After the formation of intention, the next probable action of the offender would be an arrangement of resources to formulate and carry out the offence. Preparation cannot be conclusive of an offence and hence it becomes difficult to prove the guilt of the offender at this stage too. To understand this let us consider that ‘A’ buys scissors to stab ‘B’ but later his intention to stab ‘B’ changes and he uses the scissors to trim his beard. In such a case, A cannot be held liable for gathering the means and measure to commit an offence therefore mere preparation of a crime is not enough to penalize the potential offender. Just like the few exceptions discussed in the stage of Intention, a few of the exceptions exist for Preparation too which are as follows: –

  1. Collecting arms, etc., with the intention of waging war against the Government of India (Section 122)
  2.  Preparation to commit the offence of Dacoity (Section 399)
  3.  Preparation for counterfeit coins and government stamps

The reason why preparation is not punishable is given below:

  • Preparations are usually harmless acts.
  • It is near impossible to prove that preparation was done in order to commit that crime, and even if the preparation was done with mischief in mind, one might have changed his mind on the way.
  • If preparation is made punishable then offences in the statutes would increase by tenfold
  • Mere preparation does not cause harm or does not raise alarm in society. 


 After the intention to commit an offence is formed and when the preparation to execute the same has been done, the subsequent step that follows is the actual execution in form of any act that would result in the commission of a crime if not hindered by any other force whatsoever. The execution may even be partial in order to prove the guilty mind of the offender because as and after execution is made, be it even partial there can be no change in the mind that has already carried out an act of guilty nature. Hence attempt to a crime is punishable.

 As observed in the case of Aman Kumar And Anr vs State Of Haryana “An attempt to commit an offence is an act, or a series of acts, which leads inevitably to the commission of the offence, unless something, which the doer of the act neither foresaw nor intended, happens to prevent this. An attempt may be described to be an act done in part execution of a criminal design, amounting to more than mere preparation, but falling short of actual consummation, and, possessing, except for failure to consummate, all the elements of the substantive crime. In other words, an attempt consists of the intent to commit a crime, falling short of its actual commission. It may consequently be defined as that which if not prevented would have resulted in the full consummation of the act attempted.”

 In Abhayanand Mishra vs The State Of Biharix, the Apex Court laid down the essentials of the attempt as follows:-

  1. Mens rea to commit the intended offence has to be proved on part of the accused
  2.  An executory step must have been taken (that is beyond the preparatory measures taken but less than the actual commission of the whole crime)
  3.  The attempt must not result in actual completion of crime

 In the State of Maharashtra Vs. Mohd. Yakubx , it was observed by the Supreme Court of India that ‘attempt to commit as the last proximate act that an offender does towards the completion of a crime, the completion of offence being interrupted by forces beyond the offender’s control.

A broad distinction between ‘preparation’ and ‘attempt’ has also been laid down in the same aforementioned case. It was observed that an attempt initiates on the completion of preparation. A person commits the offence of attempt to commit a particular offence when accused (i) intends to commit a particular offence, (ii) he having made preparation and with the intention to commit an offence, (iii) does an act towards its commission, 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 crime.

Section 511 gives discipline to an individual who ‘performs any demonstration towards the commission of the offence

No.  Preparation  Attempt
  1  Preparation is an executory Act, it comes before an attempt.  The attempt is an Executed Act. Attempt is a direct movement towards the Commission after the Preparation is made   
  2  Example:  A purchases a Knife to murder B. Mere purchase of Knife which is preparation.    Example: A purchases poison and mixes it in the meal of his wife with the intention to kill her. It is an attempt.
    3  Stage: Preparation is an Act of arranging all the necessary means or articles or commodities to do an illegal act.  Stage: An attempt is an act done as per the planning which amounts to offence in all cases.
    4  Knowledge: Only the person who intends to commit the crime knows the fact.  Knowledge: Once the attempt is complete it manifests
    5  The attempt would not be an offence if a person Voluntarily gives up the idea of committing the crime.  In this stage, it is more chance of commissioning of a crime    It amounts to an offence… i.e. to attempt to do an illegal act.  
      6  Punishment:Preparation is punishable in a few cases such as Preparation to commit dacoity under Section 399 of the Indian Penal Code. (S.399 – Making preparation to dacoity )  Punishment:  According to Section 511 of IPC Attempt is punishable with imprisonment for life or other imprisonments.





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.


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In the year 2021, we wrote about 1000 Inspirational Women In India, in the year 2022, we would be featuring 5000 Start Up Stories

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