Stages of Crime in IPC

Stages of Crime in IPC: A crime is basically when someone does something they’re not supposed to or doesn’t do something they’re supposed to according to the law. It’s like breaking the rules. And the thing about crimes is, they’re not just about one person’s rights – they mess with what’s good for everyone, like public safety and order. In India, they have two sets of laws for this stuff. One set, called substantive law, has the rules about what’s right and wrong, and it’s in the Indian Penal Code from way back in 1860.

About Stages of Crime in IPC

In the world of Indian law, crimes follow a kind of journey with four key stages: intention, preparation, attempt, and commission. It’s like a story unfolding—from someone just thinking about doing something wrong, to getting ready for it, trying it out, and finally, the actual act itself.

At each step, there are specific rules and laws laid out in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and other relevant legal stuff. It’s a bit like understanding chapters in a book; each stage has its own quirks, and knowing them is super important to figure out if someone is really guilty or not. It’s like piecing together the plot of a legal drama to decide what kind of action should be taken.

The four stages of crime in India are:


The first step in committing a crime in the Indian legal system is having the intention, which is basically the person deciding in their mind to do something illegal. This is called mens rea or criminal intent, where someone consciously decides or wants to commit a crime, even though they haven’t taken any actual steps to do it yet. It’s important to understand that just thinking about doing something bad doesn’t get you in trouble under the law. You only get punished if you actually go ahead and commit the crime with that intention. Criminal intent is a big deal because it helps figure out how responsible someone is and what charges and punishments are appropriate for them.


After someone has thought about committing a crime (the intention stage), the next step is the preparation stage. During this phase, the person starts getting things ready and planning out the details of what they’re thinking about doing. They might gather what they need, make arrangements, and figure out the specifics of the situation. However, at this point, they haven’t actually gone ahead and done anything to carry out the crime.

Preparation When Punishable

When the offence is regarded as a serious offence, preparation to commit offences is penalised under the Indian Penal Code. A few of them are mentioned below:

  • Warfare preparations against the government (Section 122 of IPC).
  • Preparing coins or government stamps for counterfeiting (Sections 233 to 235, 255, and 257 of IPC).
  • Having counterfeit money, fraudulent documents, or fake weights and measurements (Sections 242, 243, 259, 266).
  • Making plans to commit dacoity (Section 399 of IPC).


Drawing a fine distinction between getting ready to commit a crime and actually attempting it is like navigating a really thin line. Think of it as the stage where someone is gearing up and taking steps towards carrying out a misdeed. This phase is often called a “preliminary crime.” The law acknowledges this and has specific provisions for punishing attempts to commit various crimes.

However, if there isn’t a specific punishment laid out for attempting a particular crime, Section 511 of the legal code steps in. It’s like the safety net, ensuring that attempts to commit crimes don’t go unnoticed. Some of the specific rules in the legal code cover attempts to commit crimes and outline the consequences for such actions.

  • Section 121 – Attempt to wage a war;
  • Section 131 – Attempt to seduce a soldier, sailor or airman from his duty;
  • Section 307 – Attempt to murder;
  • Section 308 – Attempt to culpable homicide;
  • Section 309 – Attempt to suicide;
  • Section 326B – Attempt to throw suicide;
  • Section 356 – Attempt to commit theft;
  • Section 357 – Attempt to wrongfully confine a person;
  • Section 393 – Attempt to commit robbery;
  • Section 397 – Robbery or dacoity with an attempt to cause death or grievous hurt;


The commission stage is the final stage of crime, where the accused person successfully completes the offences by performing all the necessary acts to accomplish the intended crime. It is the stage where the mens rea (mental state) and actus reus (physical act) of the accused coincide, resulting in the consummation of the offences.


The stages of crime in IPC are intention, preparation, attempt, and commission, play a crucial role in the criminal justice system. These stages help establish the mens rea and actus reus of the accused, determine the level of culpability, and guide the appropriate charges and punishments.

Read Also: All you need to know about Offence

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