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Stages of A Crime Under Indian Penal Code Stages of A Crime Under Indian Penal Code

Bronze medal Reporter Adv Sanu Posted 14 Feb 2020
Stages of A Crime Under Indian Penal Code

In every crime, there are four stages. First is the intention to commit it; second is when the offender makes preparations to commit it; the third stage is when he attempts to commit it and if the third stage is successful then finally the actual commission of the offence. If the attempt fails, the crime is not complete but the law punishes the person attempting the act. An ‘attempt’ is made punishable, because every attempt, although fails must create alarm, which, of itself, is an injury and the moral guilt of the offender is the same as if he had succeeded.

Section 511of IPC read as, Punishment for attempting to commit offences punishable with imprisonment for life or other imprisonments –

Whoever attempts to commit an offence punishable by this Code with 1[imprisonment for life] or imprisonment, or to cause such an offence to be commit­ted, and in such attempt does any act towards the commission of the offence, shall, where no express provision is made by this Code for the punishment of such attempt, be punished with 2[imprisonment of any des c r i p tion provided for the offence, for a term which may extend to one-half of the imprisonment for life or, as the case may be, one-half of the longest term of imprison­ment provided for that offence], or with such fine as is provided for the offence, or with both.


  • A makes an attempt to steal some jewels by breaking open a box and finds after so opening the box, that there is no jewel in it. He has done an act towards the commission of theft and therefore is guilty under this section.
  • A makes an attempt to pick the pocket of Z by thrusting his hand into Z’s pocket. A fails in the attempt in consequence of Z’s having nothing in his pocket. A is guilty under this section.

The preparation consists in devising or arranging the means or measures necessary for the commission of an offence. A mere preparation is not made punishable by the code except under following sections of the code viz.section 122 (preparation to wage war with the government of India, section 126 (preparation to commit depredation on territories of any power at peace with the government of India) and section 399(preparation to commit dacoity).

An attempt is a direct movement towards the commission after the preparations are made. An attempt is an intentional preparatory action which fails in an object because of circumstances independent of the person who seeks its accomplishment. When a man does an intentional act with a view to attaining a certain end and fails in his object through some circumstances independent of his own will, then that man has attempted to effect the object at which he aimed.

The test for determining whether the acts constitute attempt or preparation is whether the over acts already done are such that if the offender changes his mind and does not proceed further in its progress, the acts already done would be completely harmless. But where the thing is done is such that if not prevented by any extraneous cause, would fructify into the commission of an offence it would amount to an attempt to commit that offence. An accused committed an offence criminal lawyers in India to help to release them from the punishment. 

The Supreme Court in State of Maharashtra v.Mohd.Yakub, AIR 1980 SC 1111, held that the test applied in Malkiat Singh’s case should be understood with reference to the facts of the case. In this case, customs officers received information that a truck and a jeep containing silver with the intention of smuggling it out of the country, we're heading towards the seashore. While the truck was being unloaded at the seashore, the customs officers arrested the accused. The court held that the accused had made all the preparations and it is only because of the intervention of custom officers that they could not succeed in their attempt. The accused were accordingly held guilty under section 511.

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