Difference Between Motive and Intention

14-Jun-2024 (In Criminal Law)
What is the difference between Intention and Motive in ipc ?
Answers (3)

Answer #1
478 votes

The intention is the basic element for making a person liable for the crime, which is commonly contrasted with motive. Though we often use the two terms interchangeably these are different in the eyes of law. While intention means the resolution of doing something, motive regulates the object for committing an act. The chief difference between intention and motive is that intention definitely designates the mental state of the accused i.e. what’s going on his mind, at the period of the commission of a crime, whereas motive implies the motivation i.e. what drives a person to do.

What is Intention?

Regardless of motive, proving intent is the driving force behind surmising guilt. Even if a crime has been committed, the accused may eventually be found not guilty due to a lack of intent. Intent can be described as a willingness to act, and it makes all the difference in a criminal case. Intent can be divided into three levels of culpability, based on increasing severity:

  1. General intent: Crimes of general intent carry the lightest criminal penalties but are the easiest for the prosecution to prove. Prosecutors only need to prove the presence of a general intention during the act in question.

  2. Specific intent: Specific intent takes a closer look at the details of the crime. Specific intent alleges the accused knew the act was illegal beforehand or intended to cause a “bad result,” such as committing a crime resulting in bodily injury.

  3. Malice aforethought: Applicable only in murder cases, malice aforethought describes the specific intention to kill. In both first-degree and second-degree murder cases, malice aforethought is a pivotal component of a trial.

Intent is the difference between trying to avoid a car collision versus aiming for the center and hitting the gas. The intent describes a conscious decision to carry out a criminal act. If you stood to gain monetarily by causing the car accident, you would also have a motive for doing so.

Regardless of whether the demonstration is submitted with a decent aim or an awful one. On the off chance that an individual accomplishes something intentionally and deliberately, which is precluded by the law, it will add up to the criminal obligation.

What is Motive?

In a criminal case, a motive is an explanation. Investigators, prosecutors, judges and the public use motive to explain a person’s actions. Motives can be good or bad and may not always be present. A motive comes down to the reasons for making a decision or refusal to act. Even if the prosecution proves that a motive exists, they must still prove criminal intent to pass a guilty verdict. Motives are:

  1. The reason behind the action

  2. Not always present in a case

  3. Irrelevant in proving guilt

Motive comes before intent. It’s often referred to as the underlying cause behind the intent to act. Uncovering motives can determine the reasons for committing the act. Motives are often used by investigators when narrowing their list of suspects. A motive has perhaps the greatest effect on a case during sentencing. Motives can often influence a judge’s opinion to lean toward the maximum or minimum sentencing guidelines.

What is the difference between Intention and Motive?

While intention can be termed as the immediate mental condition of a person committing a criminal act, the motive may be constructed as the ulterior desire which gives rise to the immediate mental condition of the individual. Thus, if a person kills an aged relative in order to inherit his wealth, the immediate mental condition, that is killing of the aged relative is called intention while the ulterior desire to inherit his wealth is called motive.
Therefore, where an act is done intentionally, the motive is revealed when the question “why the act is done” is answered. In criminal law, the general rule is that motive is irrelevant and the only intention is relevant. In law, a man’s motive is irrelevant, so it ignores it. A person may have a noble motive in doing an act but if he intentionally causes wrongful loss, his crime is complete and motive is irrelevant.
In Emperor v. Appajibin Yadav Rao, (1896) 21 Bom 517, the sweepers of certain villages were suspended from their office for some months. A meeting was held at the house of the Patel (headman) at which Patel was present to consider the question of their restoration to office. An agreement arrived at that they should be registered on payment of Rs. 300 towards the repairs of the village temple. It was held that Patel was guilty under Section 161 of IPC i.e. public servant accepting illegal gratification. The effect that the money went to the temple and not to the Patel was held irrelevant. In other words, the accused’s motive, though noble was irrelevant in criminal law.
Thus, where the intention is criminal it cannot be justified by a good or noble motive. However, consideration of motive is relevant in the case of:

  • Criminal attempts

  • Where a particular intent forms a part of the definition of a criminal offense. Ex: house-trespass committed to committing an offense punishable with death

  • In civil liability cases of defamation and malicious prosecution.

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Answer #2
937 votes
Intention and motive are two different concepts that are commonly used interchangeably, but they have distinct meanings in the context of criminal law.

The difference between motive and intention can be summarized as follows:

Intention: Intention refers to the very mental condition of a person while he commits a criminal act. Criminal intention denotes the highest degree of criminal mind i.e., the accused was acting under a zealous desire to commit the offence like in the case of murder or theft. It is an important ingredient that the prosecution must necessarily prove in order to affix guilt on the accused and for the Court in determining his criminal liability. The criminal intention on part of the accused is his conscious decision and willingness to commit an offence. As per Section 14 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, facts denoting states of mind like intention and ill-will are relevant facts. Intention can be gauged by asking the question, 'How did the accused commit the crime?'. If the answer is that the accused did not leave any stone unturned in ensuring the horrific outcome of the offence, we can affix on him the intention to commit the offence. The choice of weapon and the way he used the weapon at the time of the offence also allow us to gauge intention.

Motive: Motive refers to the underlying reason for committing the offence. It could be revenge or jealousy or even unjust enrichment. Motive can be gauged by asking the question, 'Why did the accused commit the crime?' Motive supplies meaning to intention i.e., the mental condition of the individual at the time of the offence. However, motive is not always present in a case and is not an essential criminal ingredient in proving the guilt of the accused. It is relevant under Section 8 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 as circumstantial evidence that helps the prosecution build its case against the accused. Additionally, motive can be used to narrow down suspects during investigations and may ultimately bear influence on sentencing decisions of the Court.

In criminal law, while intention is the principal factor in determining culpability, motive is generally considered to have a supplementary role. A person's motive, whether good or bad, is not usually taken into account in establishing guilt. However, in civil liability cases such as defamation and malicious prosecution, motive can be relevant.
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Answer #3
657 votes
Intention basically is what was the state of mind of a person when he is committing a crime.

And the Motive is motivation for example what derives a person for committing the crime.
The raeson for committing an offence.
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