A crime is an act which the society looks down upon and shocks the conscience of the public at large. The chief concern of the criminal law is to protect and preserve certain fundamental social values and institutions.

A crime is an act which does not happened automatically. But rather it is an act or omission which passes through a process before it reaches the threshold of being termed as a crime.

The various stages of crime are as under:

  1. Intention
  2. Preparation
  3. Attempt
  4. Commission


  1. Intention: The intention is a first and initial stage of crime. And under Indian Penal Code first stage of crime intention is not penalized. Actus non facitreum nisi mens sit rea means “An act does not make a defendant guilty without a guilty mind.” It is pertinent to note that an act which is not preceded with an evil intention is not punishable. It is important that Mens Rea is present in particular act, meaning thereby that an act will only be termed as a crime if there is an evil intention to do wrong. The mere act without the intention is not punishable. The intent and the act both must concur to constitute a crime. The concept of Mens Rea includes intention, motive, knowledge, motive, recklessness and negligence.
  2. Preparation: The second stage of crime is known as preparation. At this stage a person prepares or does acts which will help him in committing the criminal act. It needs to be kept in mind that the criminal act has not been committed yet and therefore this stage is not punishable. But there are also some acts which are punishable under Indian Penal Code.

These types of acts are:

(1) Waging war against the government of India Sec-122. This section says that if a person is involved in collecting arms and ammunition with an intent to wage war against the State so this type of offences are punishable.

(2) Committing depredation on the areas of any country which is at peace with the government of India Sec- 126. When a person commits acts such as plundering or attacking any country or nation which is at peace with the Indian State are punishable. Punishment for this act is imprisonment up to 7 years and also liable to fine.

(3) To commit dacoity Sec.399. Any person who makes any preparation for committing dacoity shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment for term which may extend to 10 years.

  1. Attempt: an attempt is a direct movement towards the commission of an offence after the preparation has been made. An attempt creates an alarm and the moral guilt of the offender is the same as though he had succeeded. Criminal law takes notice of attempt to commit punishable wrongs and punishes them according to nature and gravity of the offence attempted. In the IPC attempt is not anywhere defined properly. But section 511 says that imprisonment which is to be imposed on an individual if he or she is found attempting to commit an offence.
  2. Commission: it is the last stage of commission of crime. This is the stage where the offender has crossed all the three initial stages that is intention, preparation and attempt.

Crime is not just an act or omission which is a stand alone at but there are several stages which are also involved in the commission of crime and which are also very important.  IPC does not punish a person at all the stages of crime, but once the act is committed it is punishable under IPC. Intention of the party is very important along with this Actus Rea is also important. But without the Mens rea there is no importance of Actus Rea.

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