Definition of crime

Section 40 of the Indian Penal Code does not clearly define crime. In the general sense, crime is every act or omission whose doing or not doing causes harm to the society and is punishable by the law in force at that time. Therefore, it is necessary to have the following two elements for a crime DEFINITION OF CRIME

(I) such act or omission as to cause injury to the community, and

(II) that the injury is punishable by any law in force.

The above definition of crime cannot be said to be complete. Therefore, it is necessary to know the views of various scholars in this regard.

1.According to Austin – “Crime is an act against moral principles, on the conviction of which the court punishes the criminal and which can be completely protected from punishment only by the state.”

2. According to Miller – “A crime is an act or an illegal act which the state, by any process run in its name, completely forbids or orders to be done with a warning of punishment.”

3. According to Patton – “There is a lot of state interference in crimes. This interference is done under both judicial decisions and judicial proceedings.”


Essential elements of crime

The following elements must be present for the formation of an offence:

  1. That at least one person was present at the commission of the offence.
  2. That the offender has the capacity to commit the offense
  3. That the offense was committed out of mala fide.
  1. That the offense was committed in furtherance of a definite object.
  2. That the malice was outwardly manifested by some act.
  3. That the offense was injurious to society and
  4. That the act was punishable under any applicable law.

Offenses under Indian law

Although it is necessary to have the above elements for the completion of the crime in the Anglic law, but according to the Indian Penal Code, it is not necessary to have the above elements in the crime, because in the Indian Penal Code, the essential elements of each crime have been included in the definition of the crime itself. Committed like knowingly, intentionally, dishonestly, fraudulently etc. If such act or omission is compatible with the definition of a particular crime, then it is given the name of crime, otherwise not.

Therefore, nowhere in the Indian Penal Code, the essential elements of crime have been separately described and the concept of ‘criminal intent’ also has no place here. However, in general we can say that the following conditions are necessary for a crime to be committed-