There are four stages in the Commission of an Offence:-
- INTENTION – Psychological fact or guilty intention.
- PREPARATION- Physical fact.
PSYCHOLOGICAL FACT—Provable mainly by Circumstantial Evidence and Occasionally by Direct Evidence.
PHYSICAL FACT—Provable by Direct Evidence otherwise by Circumstantial Evidence.
Intention is the plan or design formulated by the accused in his mind to commit an offence. Intention is the one of the essential elements of crime and the first stage in the commission of an offence.
The general principle is that no offence is punishable at the stage of Guilty Intention. But, there are certain exceptions to this general principle.
- Waging War against the state (Section. 121-123)
- Sedation (Section . 124- A)
- Agreement in Criminal Conspiracy (Section. 120- A)
- Assembling to commit dacoity.(Section . 402)
2. PREPARATION –
Accused person arranging the means or gathering the means like weapons, vehicles, poisons, explosions etc.. is known as Preparation.
The General Principle is that no offence is punishable at the stage of Preparation. But, there are certain exceptions where mere Preparation is punishable.
- Preparation to wage a war against state. ( Section. 122)
- Preparation to commit depredation (to causing loss) on the territories of a power which is friendly towards India. ( Section. 126)
- Preparation to commit Dacoit. ( Section .399)
- Preparation for counter-feting of coins and Government stamps.( Section. 233-235 ; 255-257)
- Possessing counter-feint coins false measures and weights and forged documents. ( Section – 242,243,259,266 and 474).
Attempt is the positive moment directed by the accused towards the commission of an offence. In this stage, the determination of the accused to commit the offence is very high.
The General Principle is that all offences are punishable at the stage of Attempt. No exceptions at all .
At present, impossible attempts are also punishable. When IPC doesn’t contain any punishment for attempting to commit a particular offence like-
Attempt to commit Rape and ,Attempt to commit Theft; One has to refer Section.511 of IPC to know the punishment for that attempt.
The dividing line between preparation and attempt is extremely thin.
Attempt is an incomplete offence along with abatement and conspiracy.
When the accused person has gone forward to commit the offence, has the chance to withdraw voluntarily from committing that offence, he is considered to be in the stage of Preparation. And not having the ability to withdrawing oneself from committing offence is considered to have entered into stage of Attempt.
4. COMMISSION –
When the accused person successfully attains the object he is considered to have committed the offence. All commissions are punishable except one i.e. Suicide.