• Actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea- Act alone does not make a man guilty unless his intentions were so. This maxim was laid down in the case of R.Balakrishna Pillai v. State of Kerala.[1]
  • Crimen trahit personam-The crime carries the person. This maxim is incorporated under Section 2- Intra-Territorial Jurisdiction.
  • Communis hostis omnium-They are common enemies of all. Incorporated under Section 4- Piracy.
  • Ignorantia facti excusat and Ignorantia juris non excusat- Ignorance of fact is excusable/ Ignorance of law is not excusable. Incorporated under Section 76 and 79- Mistake of fact and mistake of law.
  • Necessitas non habet legem-Necessity knows no law. Under Section 81- Act done without criminal intention.
  • Doli incapax-Incapable of understanding what is right and what is wrong. Under Section 82- Act of child below 7 years.
  • Doli capax-Capable of understanding what is right and what is wrong. 
  • Malitia supplet aetatem- Malice supplies age.
(Above 2 are incorporated under Section 83- Act of child between 7 to 12 years).
  •  Furiosis furore suo punier-A madman is best punished by his own madness.
  • Furiosis nulla voluntas est-A madman has no will.
  • Furiosis absentis loco est-A madman is like one who is absent
(Above 3 maxims are incorporated under Section 84- Unsound mind.)
  • Qui peccat ebrius luat sobrius-Let him sins when drunk be punished when sober. Under Section 86- Intoxicated.
  • Volenti non fit injuria-One who consents suffers no injury. Under Section 87 to 93- Acts done by consent.
  • Actus me invito factus-An act done by me against my will is not my act. Under Section 94- Compelled by threats.
  • De minimis non curat lex-Law does not notice trifles. Under Section 95-Slight harm.
  • Respondeat superior- Let the Principle answer. Under Section 154 and 155- Unlawful assembly and riot.
  • Res ipsa loquitur- Things speak for itself. Stated in the case of State of M.P. v. Jagdish[2].
  • Causa causans- The immediate cause.  Stated in the case of Ambalal D. Bhatt v. State of Gujarat[3].
(Above 2 maxims are under Section 304A- Death by negligence.)
  • Animus furandi- The intent to steal. Under Section 399- Dacoity.
  • Sic utere tuo ut alienum non laedas- Use your own property in such a manner as not to injure that of another. Under Section 425- Mischief.

[1] 2003 (9) SCC 700

[2] 1992 Cr LJ 746 (MP)

[3] AIR1972SC1150 


 About the Author: This Legal Maxim is prepared by Mr. Naveen Toppo, a 5th-year law student at the National University of Study and Research in Law, Ranchi and is an intern at MyLawman. He can be reached at naveennusrl@gmail.com.

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