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Shailesh (Businessman)     26 July 2021

Can anyone be punished for just planning a crime which doesn't take place?

Supposing A plans to kill B and purchases a pistol and hires few goons to beat him up. Assume that he also tries to restrain him by placing nails in the road so that when B drives through that road his tires get punctured and then they can kill him.

However, C kills B before B leaves his house and therefore does not arrive on that road where A is waiting for him.

Can A be held guilty for planning a murder?


 2 Replies

BHAVYA SOM GARG   28 July 2021

In criminal law, there is a maxim which reads as “Actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea”. In general words, it means that a guilty act needs to be done with a guilty mind for a crime to be committed. While it presupposes that a guilty mind is essential, it also presupposes that an act, generally forbidden by law needs to take place for a crime to be committed. Further, there is a well- established rule that there are 4 stages of a crime: Guilty intention, preparation, attempt, actual act (consequence). Generally, punishment is given when the actual act takes place. But there are various offences like murder, rape etc., where even the attempt itself has been made punishable. So, in majority of the cases, either the attempt or the actual offence is punishable, keeping guilty intention and preparation outside the purview of punishment. However, some offences like dacoity, armed rebellion against the State are of such a serious nature that in these cases, even the preparation has been made punishable.

So, as per the situation laid out by you, A has planned to murder B and to that end, does the necessary preparation. But he’s not able to actually murder B as he was already killed by C. In this case, A cannot be charged of a crime as in the cases of murder, either the actual act or the attempt is made punishable, not the preparation. In conclusion, A cannot be held guilty of planning to murder B.

Hope this helps you.

1 Like

Manoj Chaudhary Advocate   29 July 2021

you have a good case for quashing if police come to your client. however your client is guilty of having possession of illegal weapon. Read 115 IPC

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