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Section 307 IPC: Attempted Murder and Legal Implications

Section 307 IPC: Attempted Murder and Legal Implications

Have you ever heard of something called an "incomplete crime"? 

It might sound strange, but it’s actually an important concept in understanding how the law deals with actions that almost became crimes. Imagine someone has an idea to do something illegal. That’s the first stage—it’s just a thought and not against the law. But if they start planning and preparing to carry out that illegal act, it moves to the next stage. This stage is where things get serious because even if they don’t finish the crime, just trying to do it is considered breaking the law.

In our legal system, we don’t have a specific definition for the "attempt" stage. Instead, it’s seen as taking real steps toward committing the crime after getting ready for it. This is more serious than just thinking about it or making plans.

The reason we care about attempts is that they show a person's intentions to do something wrong, even if they don’t succeed. Just having bad thoughts isn’t enough to get in trouble, but once someone starts doing things related to those thoughts, it becomes a problem.

Think of it like this: even if someone plans a crime but doesn’t manage to carry it out, they can still be held accountable for trying. This helps prevent bad things from happening before they become even worse.

In legal terms, attempts are like a warning sign. They show that someone is heading in the wrong direction, and the law steps in to stop them before they cause harm. It’s like catching a problem early on to prevent bigger trouble later.

So, understanding attempts to commit crimes is important because it shows how our legal system works to keep everyone safe. By recognizing and dealing with attempts, the legal frameworks uphold societal safety and integrity, emphasizing the proactive stance of law enforcement in curbing potential harm before it materializes into full-fledged criminality.


Trying to commit a crime but not succeeding is known as an  ‘attempt’. Even though the laws don’t precisely define attempt, it falls under the category of inchoate crimes in the Indian Penal Code. Inchoate crimes are like incomplete crimes—they don’t fully happen but are still serious.

When someone tries to commit a crime, they become guilty of this inchoate offence of attempt right when they try it, even if they don’t finish it successfully.

Now, when it comes to punishment for attempting a crime, Section 511 of the Indian Penal Code covers it. The punishment for an attempt is usually half of what would be given for the completed crime. This is because an attempt isn’t as bad as actually doing the crime.

Courts sometimes use different tests to figure out when an attempt starts and when it’s still just preparation. These are called the theories of attempt, and they help clarify when someone crosses the line from planning to trying to commit a crime. Understanding these theories helps us see how the law deals with attempts to commit crimes.


Section 307 of the Indian Penal Code pertains to the serious offence of an act of attempting to murder or causing grievous harm with the intention of causing death. This legal provision states that anyone who performs an act with the intent or knowledge that, if it resulted in death, would constitute murder, faces punishment. The punishment can include imprisonment for up to ten years and a fine.

Furthermore, if the act results in harm to the victim, the offender may face even more severe consequences. In such cases, the offender can be sentenced to life imprisonment or face the same punishments mentioned earlier.

It's important to note that offenses under Section 307 are considered cognizable, meaning that law enforcement can make an arrest without a warrant. Additionally, these offenses are non-bailable, meaning that the accused cannot secure release from custody except under special circumstances determined by the court. Lastly, offenses under this section are non-compoundable, meaning that the victim cannot withdraw the case or reach a private settlement with the accused; legal proceedings must follow their course.


  1. Intentional Attempt to Kill: This provision specifically addresses situations where an individual attempts to intentionally take the life of another person. It focuses on the deliberate action of trying to cause death.

  2. Nature of Weapon Used: The severity of the offense can be determined by the type of weapon used in the commission of the act. Whether a deadly weapon or a less lethal one is employed can influence the gravity of the offense.

  3. Requirement of Intent: For an act to be considered an offense under Section 307, the accused must possess the intention to commit the crime. 

  4. Direct Threat to Life: The act committed by the accused must directly endanger the life of the victim. 

  5. Punishment Based on Circumstances: If someone is convicted of attempted murder under Section 307, the severity of the punishment depends on various factors such as the seriousness of the circumstances surrounding the offense and the consequences of the attempted act. 


  1. Intention to commit offence- Section 307 deals with the perpetrator's intent to kill. This means that even if an attempted murder doesn’t result in death, the emphasis is on the individual’s intention to cause harm.

  2. Nature of the Act- Determining intention requires evaluating factors such as the act's nature, the weapon involved, and the gravity of the situation. Put simply, it's about assessing whether the action, if carried out successfully, would likely have caused death, aiding in understanding the offender's intent.

  3. Execution of the Act- Section 307 pertains to failed attempts to commit murder and encompasses both intent and preparation for the act. Subsequent to these, the actual execution, even if unsuccessful, is punishable as a completed attempt.

  4. The act of the offender would cause death in its ordinary course- The individual must be aware that their actions are likely to result in someone’s death. They must possess the intention to cause harm that could ultimately lead to death.


Under Section 307 IPC, the nature of the offense is characterized as Cognizable, Non-Bailable, and Non-Compoundable:

  1. Cognizable: This mandates the police to register and investigate the case upon receiving a complaint.

  2. Non-Bailable: This means that the court has the discretion to deny bail and detain the accused in judicial or police custody.

  3. Non-Compoundable: The case cannot be withdrawn by the petitioner at their discretion; it must proceed through the legal process without the option of settlement between the parties involved.


According to Section 307 IPC, the punishment for attempt to murder varies based on the extent of harm caused and the criminal history of the offender:

  1. Attempt to Murder: Imprisonment for a term ranging from 10 years to life, along with a fine.

  2. Attempt to Murder Resulting in Hurt: If the attempted murder results in injury to the victim, the offender can face either life imprisonment or imprisonment for a term of 10 years, in addition to a fine.

  3. Attempt to Murder by a Life Convict: If a person who is already serving a life sentence attempts to murder another person and causes harm in the process, they may face either the death penalty or imprisonment for a term of 10 years, along with a fine.


  1. Rambabu vs. The State of Madhya Pradesh 2019- In this case, the accused was found guilty under Section 307 of the IPC, which deals with attempted murder. The court sentenced the accused to 5 years in prison and imposed a fine of Rs. 5000. Bail was denied due to the seriousness of the offence. The court emphasized that any injuries inflicted, regardless of severity, fall under Section 307 and merit punishment, including fines.

  2. Sarju Prasad vs. The State of Bihar 1965- The Supreme Court ruled that in cases falling under Section 307 of the IPC, the mere absence of injuries to vital organs does not exclude the act from the purview of the section. Instead, the prosecution must prove that the accused had one of the three specific intentions outlined in clauses 1 to 3 of Section 300 of the IPC. The accused's state of mind must be deduced from surrounding circumstances, with motive being a key consideration. In the case at hand, on February 23, 1961, Madan Mohan Saha and Shankar Prasad Shrivastava were attacked around 1:30 pm at Dhaime chowk. While Sunil Prasad sustained serious injuries, the intention or knowledge behind these injuries, had they resulted in death, would have constituted murder under Section 307 of the IPC. Thus, the offense fell under Section 307 of the IPC.

  3. S.K. Khaja vs. State of Maharashtra 2023- In this case from Nanded, Maharashtra, the accused attempted to assault a police constable with a Gupti aimed at his head. However, while defending himself, the constable suffered an injury to his right shoulder. The Supreme Court bench of Justices Bela M. Trivedi and Dipankar Datta's emphasized that even if the injuries were minor, the accused could still be convicted under Section 307 of the IPC if there is clear evidence of intent coupled with the act. They clarified that the severity of the injuries does not negate the offense if intent to cause harm is established, thus falling under Section 307 of the IPC.

  4. Kaluram vs. State of Assam 1977- In this case, despite the accused possessing a dangerous weapon, the injuries inflicted on the victim were minor. This fact indicated a lack of intention to commit murder, leading to the accused not being convicted under Section 307 of the IPC.

  5. Sivamani and Anr.v. State Represented by Inspector of Police 2023- The complainant initially named the appellants and others in an FIR under various sections of the IPC, including Section 307, alleging a conspiracy to cause their death. However, after trial, Accused Nos. 1, 2, and 5 were acquitted, while the appellants (Accused Nos. 3 and 4) were convicted under Section 307 and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Their appeal in the High Court led to a reduction in their sentence to 5 years, prompting further appeal to the Supreme Court. The crucial point highlighted in the Supreme Court appeal was that the injuries inflicted were simple, without evidence of repeated or severe blows. This fact, coupled with the lack of substantial evidence supporting a conspiracy to cause death, rendered the conviction under Section 307 unsustainable.

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