Author-Mansi, University Five Year Law College, University of Rajasthan


“Laws are like cobwebs, which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through.”-Jonathan Swift

The current era is full of so many occupations. So, because of it, we found so many crimes in each and every situation. Some persons are not aware properly of these crimes. Now, rape and cybercrime is a very major issue nowadays. But first of all, we have to know about the meaning of crime and what are the stages to consider an act as a crime. Therefore, in this article, I tried to explain the meaning and stages of crime in an easy way.


We know that every country or state is full of customs, religions and rules and regulations. Nowadays, when we disobey these customs, and regulations of any society, then it is considered as a crime. However, according to legal definition, “crime is any kind of act or omission which is declared to be socially detrimental with respect to the State and is forbidden by law, by the imposition of some punishment.” Blackstone stated crime as “an act committed or omitted in violation of public law forbidding or commanding it”. Glanville Williams says that “a crime is a legal wrong that can be followed by criminal proceedings which may result in punishment”. Professor Kenny defined crimes in the these terms: “Crime is a harmful human conduct that sovereign desires to prevent.” Salmond defines as “an act deemed by law to be harmful to society in general even though its immediate victim is an individual”. John Austin defines crime “a wrong which is pursued by the sovereign or his subordinates is a crime.”

Crime is derived from Latin word – ‘krimos’  which means ‘to accuse’. The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Harpreet Kaur v. State of Maharashtra, states that “crime is a revolt against the whole society and an attack on the civilization of the day.” The Hon’ble Supreme Court in another case titled, Subramanian Swamy v. Union of India,  held that every criminal action consists of followings characters:

  1. Human being who commits a crime and with.
  2. Law gives punishment to accused and prevented the any other person to commits a crime.

Thus, supreme court gives the best definition of crime.


The cardinal elements of crime is contained in this maxim ‘actus non facit reum, nisi mens sit rea’. This maxim contains two words ‘actus reus’ and ‘mens rea’. It means that crime will not be considered as crime without guilty mind. Intention plays a major role to commit any crime.


Actus reus means to commit a crime. A wrongful act which is done by any person and this act falls down under the ambit of crime prescribed by law of any nation. A crime can be an immoral act but every immoral act can’t considers as crime. For example, not care aged parents is an immoral act but not is a crime.


Mens Rea means ‘a guilty mind’. The legal maxim  ‘actus non facit reum, nisi mens sit rea’ defines that any act not considers as crime without any guilty mind. Thus, it means that for committing a crime intention plays a major role. For example, a starving child was crying and her mother had not money and food to give him. So, he theft some food from any shopkeeper. Thus, the intention is not malafide, so because of it, it is not considers as crime.


  1. INTENTION – Intention is the very first stage to commit a crime. Because intention will converts into act and act will considers as crime. Thus, it is very first and crucial stage.
  2. PREPARATION – Preparation is second stage to commit a crime. When a person got intention to commit a crime and aftermath he collects some measures and equipments or conspiracy for intention converts into reality.
  3. ATTEMPT- Attempt is the third stage to commencement of crime aftermath preparation. To commit a crime is also an offence by law. Thus, it means that when a person reached at this stage, then he will known as a criminal. There have three main essentials –
  • Guilty intention.
  • Act done for commits a crime.
  • The act fall down under the ambit of an offence which is prescribed by law.
  1. ACCOMPLISHMENT OR COMPLETION – It is the large stag fir commencement of a crime. When a person is successful to commit a crime, then he is a criminal and idlf he is unsuccessful to commits a crime, then he did a commit a crime.

Thus, these are the stages of a crime.


Thus, we found that a crime is a very wide area to read and understand. It’s have very deep concerns. There are four stages to commit a crime. A person can commit a crime with innocence it means that he is not aware about the consequences of his act.



  • Criminal law, PSA Pillai

Journals –

  • NUJS Law review

     Online resources –


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