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general attempt- section 511

what is an "attempt" ? Kenny in his 'Outlines of Criminal Law' defined "attempt" to commit a crime as the "last proximate act which a person does towards the commission of an offence, the consummation of the offence being hindered by circumstances beyond his control." This definition is too narrow.

What constitutes an "attempt" is a mixed question of law and fact, depending largely on the circumstances of the particular case. "Attempt" defies a precise and exact definition. Broadly speaking, all crimes which consist of the commission of affirmative acts are preceded by some covert or overt conduct which may be divided into three stages. The first stage exists when the culprit first entertains the idea or intention to commit an offence. In the second stage, he makes preparations to commit it. The third stage is reached when the culprit takes deliberate overt steps to commit the offence. Such overt act or step in order to be 'criminal' need not be the penultimate act towards the commission of the offence. It is sufficient if such act or acts were deliberately done, and manifest a clear intention to commit the offence aimed, being reasonably proximate to the consummation of the offence. (vide State Of Maharashtra vs Mohd. Yakub 1980 AIR 1111)

Take for illustration "A walks towards the shop of B with a clear intention in his mind to loot it. Yet at the last minute changes his mind. This is not an attempt . However, if he enters the shop tries to loot something but finds a police patrol nearby , then drops the looted item and runs away that , will be attempt." If A has a fake currency note which he wishes to use and mixed with it are real currency note too. He goes to the shop of B with a clear intention to deceive B by passing a fake currency note. But due to a mistake he gives B a real currency note instead of a fake one. A here too is not guilty of an attempt." If a contractor who was supplying milk to a hospital was found in hospital compound with a gallon of stale milk , going in the direction of the place where cows are about to be milked , his milk-can being similar to the one in which cows were milked .It would only amount to preparation.

If W walked towards well declaring that he would jump in it and commit suicide. the well being 500 meters away , mere walking in that direction will not constitute attempt and if he is caught and subsequently prosecuted under 309 IPC it won't amount as an attempt to suicide.

As pointed out in Abhayanand Mishra v. State of Bihar - there is a distinction between 'preparation' and 'attempt'. Attempt begins where preparation ends. In sum, a person commits the offence of 'attempt to commit a particular offence' when (i) he intends to commit that particular offence; and (ii) he, having made preparations and with the intention to commit the offence, does an act towards its commission; such an act need not be the penultimate act towards the commission of that offence but must be an act during the course of committing that offence.

In The Queen v. Ramsarun Chowbey it was said :

"To constitute then the offence of attempt under this section (s. 511), there must be an act done with the intention of committing an offence, and for the purpose of committing that offence, and it must be done in attempting the commission of the offence.<