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The term crime denotes an unlawful act and this unlawful act is punishable by state . Here state represents any authority which has the power to make laws and by the power vested in it , it has stated certain acts and actions to be unlawful. Crime as a concept so broad that there is no single , universally accepted definition to it. Still every person of prudent mind is familiar with this concept and is capable to differentiate the right from wrong . For the sake of convenience , several countries provide statuary definitions of various kinds of unlawful activities , which can be identified as crimes. It is necessary that such laws are well defined and are made understood to the public to avoid any confusions or misuse.
A common principle about criminal law is that, unless an activity is prohibited by law, it does not qualify as a crime. Incidents of crime hurt not only the individual , but also the state. Such as murder, these crimes not only affect the individuals but also the society at large. Therefore , such acts are forbidden and punishable by law. The body of laws which deals imposing punishments on crimes is known as criminal law . In India Indian Penal Code drafted by Lord MaCaulay in the year 1862 is the code for criminal conduct .
Categories of crime:
1. Crimes against property- Property crimes involve theft of property without bodily harm , such as burglary , larceny ,dacoity auto theft and arson.
2. Crimes against morality- There are several crimes where there is no bodily harm or any kind of harm to the property as well . Yet these crimes are deemed as immoral activities and hence are unacceptable. Prostitution , illegal gambling and illegal drug use are all examples of such crimes. Also crimes against morality are also called victimless crimes because more than often there is no compliant or victim and it is generally the state which takes suo moto cognizance of these offence. There is always some difference of opinion about the criminality of such crimes.
3. White collar crimes-White collar crimes are generally economic offences that are committed by people of high social status. They commit these crimes in their respective occupations . Examples are embezzling, insider trading, tax evasions and other violations of income tax laws. Previously there was no law for such crimes but with evolving techniques and standards of people such crimes started taking place in a large scale and affecting people at large ,hence certain rules had to made for the protection of people and punishment of such criminals. Recently our legislator has passed the fugitive economic offender bill for the offenders of such crimes.
4. Organized crimes-Organized crime is a crime committed by structured groups typically involving the distribution of illegal goods and services to others. Crimes such as illegal gambling ,drug trade, betting on sports are examples of organized crime. Terrorism also comes under organized crimes, US has till not accepted the word terrorism and addresses such crimes as organized crimes.
Stages of Crime-
Ordinarily the first two stages , intention and preparation do not give rise to any form of criminal liability . This implies that merely having an intention to commit a criminal act is not punishable , nor is making preparation for the same, exception of preparation of crime is criminal conspiracy which is punishable under law. Liability in criminal law arises when one goes beyond the stage of preparation and attempts to do the forbidden act. Criminal liability arises only when the crimes has reached the stage which is beyond preparation and has entered into the domain of attempt , this rule is also subjected to certain exceptions . There is most often a very fine line between preparation and attempt where, preparation consists in devising or arranging the means or measures for the commission of the offence whereas attempt is the direct movement towards the commission after preparation is made.
The Indian Penal Code, Indian Evidence Act and Criminal Procedure Code, are key criminal laws in India. People frequently refer to the three as general legislation. Besides these three rules, we do have other legislation relating to different forms of offences. The most important thing common in all these laws is that they contain certain basic elements. The following are four basic elements of crime:
Accused person - The word "individual" accused does not mean crimes can be committed only by a human being. The term "individual" also includes a corporation and an organization or body of persons according to section 11 of IPC. Thus even a trust, an NGO and a public company can commit crimes. The law should always be able to pinpoint the person who is responsible for committing an offence.
Mens rea- A normal human can never commit a crime unless he has the motive to commit it. The law usually refers to the motive as mens rea, meaning in Latin "guilty mind."
Actus reus- It's not enough to merely hold a culpable mind and dream about committing a crime. The accused must therefore behave in line with the purpose and do something in its furtherance. Actus reus applies simply to an act or omission that leads to the execution of an offence. Both mens rea and actus reus are critical for creating an offense together.
Injury- The last of the basic criminality components is an injury. There can be no crime when no one faces an accident of any kind. "Injury" means any damage done to a person unlawfully, either in mind , body, reputation or property, according to section 44 of the IPC.
 https://www.dictionary.com/browse/crime.  https://saylordotorg.github.io/text_social-problems-continuity-and-change/s11-02-types-of-crime.html.  https://www.lawnn.com/stages-of-crime/.  https://indiankanoon.org/doc/668722/.  https://criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-law-basics/mens-rea-a-defendant-s-mental-state.html.  https://www.crimemuseum.org/crime-library/criminal-law/actus-reus/.
References 1.https://thefactfactor.com/facts/law/legal_concepts/criminology/stages-of-commission-of-crime/10575/ 2. https://www.toppr.com/guides/legal-aptitude/indian-penal-code/elements-of-crime/
Author- Aeshna Raghuwanshi, Content Writer , Legal Eagle.