Kinds of Mens Rea


Intention means desired objective or desire to achieve certain purpose. Humans are able to desire things which they consider are beneficial for them. This human forseeability and desire is sometimes deleterious for other human beings or the society at large.

The Indian Penal Code deals with bad or guilty intentions of human beings. Intention in the IPC is reflected by terms such as intentionally, voluntarily, willfully or deliberately. For example, Section 298 of the IPC deals with deliberate intent to wound religious sentiments.

Transferred Intention

A intends to murder X. For achieving this objective A mixes poison in X’s food and places it on X’s table. However, Y feeling unusually hungry raids X’s lunch and dies. A is liable for Y’s murder even though he did not intend it. This is known as transferred intention and is mentioned in Section 301 of the IPC.


Knowledge is the awareness of consequences of any act or omission. For instance, a bus driver has knowledge that if he doesn’t keep his eyes on the road while driving, an accident may ensue

even if he doesn’t intend it. Here the bus driver has knowledge, but may have no intention to commit an accident.

Negligence is of two kinds – advertent negligence and inadvertent negligence.

Advertent negligence or rashness or recklessness or willful negligence

Advertent negligence is also known as negligence where risk is foreseen yet the risk is undertaken foolishly by thinking no bad consequence shall result. This is common in rash driving wherein the driver in a hurry knows that he is not driving in a proper manner yet takes the risk thinking no bad consequence will result. If an accident ensues the driver is liable for advertent negligence or rashness or reckless. This is also known as willful negligence. The expression advertent means avoidable. The persons knows he can avoid this conduct be refraining from it, yet he goes along to bear the risk in a devil may care attitude. This is known as advertent negligence.

Inadvertent negligence means absence of duty to take care and due precaution. A doctor who leaves the scissors inside the patient’s wound is liable for simple negligence because he did not have knowledge of them being inside when he sew the wound. The doctor thus commits inadvertent or simple negligence because he did not have opportunity to prevent it lest by due care and caution which he failed to do.


Motive is not mens rea. Motive prompts a man to form an intention. Motive is not an essential element of crime. Motive however is relevant under the Evidence Act Motive helps in indicating intention. While investigating, the police use motive to find out who must have committed the crime or who has the best reason to commit the crime. Motive helps the investigating agencies to narrow down on the accused. Motive is not the same as intention. Motive and intention are quite different from each other even though they appear to be similar.

For example, when one feels hungry the motive is to satisfy hunger by eating. Whereas intention may be to steal bread if one doesn’t have money to pay for it. This is the difference between motive and intention.

Team Law Epic
Team Law Epic
Writer of this website are backbone of Law Epic. We try to do better to provide good and authentic information to our readers. Keep Reading....
- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Recent Comments