Revisiting Intention and Motive in Criminal Law​

Ms. Satinder Kaur
Research scholar at Maharashtra National Law University, Mumbai, India.

Volume III, Issue VI, 2020

Indian Penal Code, 1860 incorporates many fault elements (mens rea) like intention, knowledge, rashness, negligence etc. but does not define them. Intention being one of the constituent elements of crime lacks a concrete definition. Many offences under Indian Penal Code, 1860 require intention as mens rea to be proved but it is nowhere defined in Indian Penal Code, 1860. The task of defining intention is therefore assumed by the Courts. It is important to give Intention a concrete definition to prevent any kind of ambiguity. In other jurisdictions, attempts have been made to give intention a concrete meaning and definition. Motive also being a mental element is made irrelevant for determining the culpability of the offender. There is an argument to this effect that it is impossible to form intention without the existence of motive. Hence, this paper is aimed at exploring the attempts made in different jurisdiction in order to give intention a concrete definition. Also, this paper examines the reasons as to why motive has been made irrelevant when it is impossible to form intention without motive.