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Four Stages Of Committing a Crime

There are Four stages in commission of a Crime.

  1. Intention
  2. Preparation
  3. Implementation
  4. Accompolishment

Intention to Commit a Crime

This is the first stage in commission of a crime. Intention to commit a crime is not punishable unless it is made known to others either by words or conduct. Eg: Waging a War against the Government is punishable. In this case, mere intention to commit is punishable. Similarly, mere assembly of persons to commit a dacoity is punishable even though there is no preparation to it.


It is difficult for the prosecution to prove that necessary preparation has been made for the commission of the offence. Eg: In case a person purchases a pistol and loads it with bullets, it is not possible to prove that the person is carrying the pistol to kill some other person.

In the Indian Law, Mere Preparation to commit an offense is punishable in the following offenses.

  1. Waging War
  2. Preparation to commit a dacoity
  3. Preparation for counterfeiting coins and Government stamps
  4. Possessing counterfeit coins, false weight or measurement and forged documents.


It is also known as the 'Preliminary Crime'. Section XXIII of the IPC, 1860 deals with 'of Attempt to Commit Offences' and provides the punishment for attempt.

Essentials of Attempt

  1. Guilty intention to commit an offence
  2. Some act done towards committing the offence
  3. The act must fall short of the completed offence.

Prescribed Punishments in the Indian Penal Code

  1. Completed offences and attempts have been dealt in the same Section and same punishment is prescribed. Eg: Waging War and Attempting to Wage War (Sec. 121)
  2. In certain cases, punishments for attempt to offences and completed offences are dealt separately. Eg: Punishment for murder is dealt in Section 302, while attempt to murder is dealt in Sec. 307.
  3. In other cases, of attempt, are covered under Section 511 which prescribes the longest term of imprisonment or with fine or both.


This is the last stage in the commission of a crime. The accused is guilty of the offence only if he succeeds in his act. Otherwise, he is guilty of attempt only.

Example Cases

  • R vs. Scofield (1784)
  • R vs. Linneker (1906)
  • Abhyanand Mishra vs. State of Bihar, AIR 1961 SC 1698

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