I am Saba Banu, a 3rd-year law student from Pendekanti Law College, Hyderabad. In this article, we will try to discuss the essence of motive, preparation in criminal cases.


Under Criminal law, the main propaganda for committing a crime would be the intention. Motive is not a basis for criminal liability. Criminal law takes under consideration only a man’s intention and not his motive. A good motive will not render lawful what is in fact a crime. A motive is that which makes a man do any particular act. It is an encouragement to do an act. Motive is the ground for action. Motive is relevant in criminal cases, absence of motive doesn’t change much of the consequences of the criminal act. Preparation is an unorganized act. It means an act of making arrangements for committing a crime. The preparation itself does not amount to crime unless and until any big act is going to be committed. This article talks about the significance of motive, preparation, previous or subsequent conduct in criminal cases. Whenever, the offender before the commission of crime has a motive in his mind, following that preparation. The conduct of the offender is the same as that of circumstantial evidence. Section 8 of the Evidence Act, emphasizes the importance of motive, preparation, and previous and subsequent conduct which the court has to take into consideration before the conviction of an offender. 

Importance of Motive  

Section 8 in-depth explains about motive, preparation. Whenever any act is done, it is done with the motive. Every act has a motive behind it, and it will be very difficult to find out the motive behind the act, and without motive, it would be difficult to find out the act. It is the motive for which the act is being committed. It is difficult to find out and many courts have solved the cases based on motive and correlating it to the facts and circumstances of the case. The key role is that motive is the desire to commit a crime in a manner he/she wants to do it. Motive is the key in determining the outcome of criminal cases. In criminal cases, it is very important to consider the facts depending upon the motive. Motive acquires great impact when there is no direct evidence, and comes into play solely when the circumstantial evidence is in existence. In other words, we can say that motive is the emotion that induces a man to do something and such inducement need not be any grave injury proportionally. A thing to be noted here is that motive is different from intention, intention refers to immediate consequences.

Importance of Preparation

For a crime to be committed preparation is the initial step and it includes all the necessary means which are required to the commission of an offence. The preparation itself doesn’t amount to offence unless and until it is executed. In certain cases, the preparation itself can be punishable. Section 122 of IPC punishes for collecting arms, with the intention to wage a war against the Government. Similarly, section 399 of IPC, punishes a person for preparation to commit dacoity. The preparation itself is not punishable, unless and until the offender takes a step forward to commit or attempt against the commission of a crime. 


While observing the facts and circumstances of the case, it is the decision of the court to observe and draw a conclusion on both previous and subsequent conduct of the accused regarding innocence. By the clear and depth observation court draws its own logical inference by taking both the conducts into the picture carefully. Hence, the role of conduct can never be underestimated by the court in deciding the conviction or acquittal of the accused. It is important because the previous conduct throws an impact on the innocence or guilt of the accused, whereas in subsequent conduct it depends upon determining the innocence and guilt. So it is the ultimate duty of the court to observe both i.e. previous and subsequent conduct of the accused for drawing conclusions.

Can a Criminal Act be Presumed without Motive

Now the question is, can a criminal act be presumed without motive, the answer to this question is that a criminal act can be presumed even if the motive is not proved, if any other circumstances of the crime are proved. Therefore, the mere essence of motive is not mandatory to prove the criminal act. In landmark case Natha Singh v Emperor, the motive for commission of the crime of Kamali Singh by accused was deceased and knew earlier that the accused murdered Bhan Singh, the deceased was extorting money from Natha Singh and blackmailing by disclosing it to police. By observing the facts, we can clearly say that the previous murder by Natha Singh proved the motive of the offence, the Supreme Court held it categorically. Therefore, when there is clear proof of guilt, proof of motive hardly matters in that case.

Whose Conduct is taken into Consideration

In Sardul Singh v State of Bombay, it was held that it must be borne in the mind itself the conduct of the party alone and it is only admissible. The conduct of a person who is not a party to the suit is not admissible. The accused can be held admissible other than that, every person is held inadmissible. Hence, parties to the case are only held admissible.


The measure of motive, preparation, previous conduct and subsequent conduct plays an important role in committing a crime and they are explained adequately. With the effect of Section 8 of the Indian Evidence Act, the courts should take account of all of the elaborated terms. As the role of motive is not that essential, but it is not negligible and courts should take account and evaluate based on the facts and circumstances of the case before concluding. One or the other plays a key role in the commission of the crime, it is not possible that all the three are absent at a time, it plays an important role in the commission of a crime. It all depends upon the facts and circumstances of the case. But in certain cases, where the guilt is proved but the motive is not proved, still, the person will be accused and the person may be convicted. When a case is based on circumstantial evidence, then it is said that the evidence is not clear. It is thus necessary to ensure that each of these parts has been separately dealt upon and efforts have been made to establish their interrelation along with their significance as being relevant under the Act.

Latest Posts


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *