Development and Conceptualisation of Harm Principle and Mens Rea in Statutory Offences


  • Dr. N. Krishna Kumar
  • Mr. Manu Krishna


When the British took the administration of the country the condition of the legal system in India was not so good. Therefore, they turned to the adoption of the English Criminal law in India. As per the common law, motive is not considered as of much significance. Motive is an attitude of the mind.  It is the emotion prompting the act.  Love, compassion, fear, jealousy, hatred, perverted lust, desire for money etc. are examples of emotion prompting us the act and they constitute motive. It is different from mens rea, which is the immediate cause of committing offence. In olden days it was a common belief that legislature was not competent to over-ride the established rules of common law.  According to this view, even if the necessity of mens rea is not expressly mentioned in a particular statute, the judges should read between lines the necessary mens rea.  Now there are statutes which do not attach much significance to the aspect of mens rea.

Author Biographies

Dr. N. Krishna Kumar

Principal, Government Law College, Calicut, Kerala, India

Mr. Manu Krishna

Student, Government Law College, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India