Crime is a serious evil and prevention/eradication of crime is the primary responsibility of the state. The prevention of crime or delinquency can be achieved in a number of ways and contexts. It is in this perspective that the problem of crime, criminal, and punishment is drawing the attention of criminologists and penologists all around the world. The object of criminal justice is to protect society against criminals by punishing them under the existing penal law. The objectives of the punishment are achieved by enforcing different theories of punishment: 1. Deterrent, 2. Reformative, 3. Retributive, 4. Preventive, and 5. Modern Expiation Theory. Thus, punishment can be used as a method of dropping the incidence of criminal behaviour either by deterring the potential offenders or by reforming them into law-abiding citizens. In the Indian Penal Code, there is no scope for individualizing the punishment; rather these five forms of punishment have to be doled out to the offenders irrespective of their psycho-social problems and needs of individual offenders. In another case, The Supreme Court issued directions to the State Government to see that the young accused of the case are not given any degrading work and they are given the benefit of liberal parole every year if their behaviour shows responsibility and trustworthiness. Moreover, the Sessions Judge was directed to make jail visits to ensure compliance with these directions.
Crime, Punishment, Intersectionality, Juveniles, Victim Satisfaction, Criminal Justice
DEFINITION OF KEYWORDS –
- Definition of Crime – “Crime” is a public wrong. It s an offence against the community or society as a whole. It causes a threat to social security and creates social disorder. Crime is derived from the Greek word “Krimos” which means “social order” and it is applied to those acts that go against social order and are worthy of serious condemnation.
- Definition of Punishment – Punishment is the process to impose such pain on the person who is found guilty of a crime/act for breach of establishes rules and laws. In other words, it is a method to educate a lesson to society and the criminals about their acts of infringement of the settled rules which manage society.
- Definition of Intersectionality – Intersectionality means the consistent nature of social categorization such as caste, gender, and race. As it was applied by a given individual or a group it was regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantages.
- Definition of Juveniles – Juveniles means, a child, immature, or legally are not attend the age of majority.
- Definition of Victim Satisfaction – Victim Satisfaction is used to explain the reality of criminal prosecutions of victim-involved crimes.
- Definition of Criminal Justice – Criminal Justice is a standard term that refers to the laws, procedures, institutions, and policies at play before, during, and after the commission of a crime or act.
Punishment is a process, by which the state inflicts some pain to the person or property of the person, who is found guilty of a crime. Punishment is the affliction in person or property inflicted on the offender under the sanction of law. Punishment in the scheme of modern social defence is the correction of the wrongdoer and not wreaking gratuitous punitive vengeance on the criminal. The principal object of punishment is the prevention of offences. Through the process of punishment, the state can:
- Prevent (deter) the criminal not to repeat the same in future and,
- To create fear among the people not to commit such crimes/offences.
Theorists summarize the concept of punishments with the following points:
- Punishment is to cause a feeling that is objectionable and uncomfortable for the ones who commit any crime.
- It is a consequence of a wrongful act
- Punishment is followed after the commission of the crime.
- Punishment is a structure by which a criminal is made answerable to society.
Chapter 3 of the Indian Penal Code 1860 captioned “Punishment” deals with various kinds of punishments to which offenders are liable under the code. This chapter extends from section 53 to section 75. Punishment is the suffering in person or property inflicted by society or the public servants on the offenders who are adjudged guilty of a crime under the law. The administration of punishment involves the intention to produce some kind of pain which may be physical or monetary or both. Prof. Hart defines punishment in terms of the following five elements-
- It must involve pain or another consequent normally considered unpleasant
- It must be for an actual or supposed offender for his offence.
- It must be for an offence against legal rules.
- It must be intentionally administered by human beings other than the offender.
- It must be imposed and administered by an authority constituted by a legal system against which the offence is committed.
Factors to be considered
These are some factors which are required to be taken into consideration before awarding appropriate sentence to the accused. These factors are only instructive in character and not exhaustive. Each case has to be seen from its special perspective. The relevant factors are as under:
- Motive or previous hostility
- Whether the occasion had taken place on the spur of the moment.
- The intention/knowledge of the accused while inflicting the carry or injury.
- Whether the death was ensured immediately or the victim died after several days.
- The gravity, dimensions and nature of the injury.
- The age and general health condition of the accused.
- Whether the injury was caused without pre-mediation in a sudden fight.
- The nature and size of the weapon used for inflicting the injury and the force with which the blow was inflicted.
- The criminal background and adverse history of the accused.
- Whether the injury inflicted was not sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death but the death was because of shock.
- A number of other criminal cases are pending against the accused.
- The incident occurred within a family member or close relations.
- The conduct and behaviour of the accused after the incident. Whether the accused had taken the injured/the deceased to the hospital immediately to make certain that he/she gets proper medical treatment?
These are some of the factors which can be taken into deliberation while granting an appropriate sentence to the accused.
The listed circumstances enumerated above are only illustrated and not exhaustive. In our considered view, a proper and appropriate sentence to the accused is the bounded obligation and duty of the court. The Endeavour of the court must ensure that the accused receives an appropriate sentence, in other words, the sentence should be according to the gravity of the offence.
OBJECTIVES OF PUNISHMENT
- Criminal law is the imposition of an appropriate, adequate, just, and proportionate sentence commensurate with the nature and gravity of the crime and the manner of the crime.
- To protect society and to deter the criminal from achieving the avowed object of law by imposing appropriate sentences.
- The main purpose of the sentence broadly stated is that the accused must realize that he has committed an act that is not only harmful to the society of which he forms an integral part but is also harmful to his own future, both as an individual and as a member of the society.
- Punishment is designed to protect society by deterring potential offenders and also by preventing the guilty party from repeating the offence.
- It is also designed to reform the offender and re-claim him as a law-abiding citizen for the good of society as a whole.
- Reformatory, deterrent and punitive aspects of punishment thus play their due part in judicial thinking while determining the same.
THEORIES OF PUNISHMENT OR ALTERNATIVE METHODS OF PUNISHMENTS
Every civilized society/state recognizes/welcomes the punishment of criminals. With the changing patterns of modern societies, the approach of penologists towards punishment has also undergone a radical change. The main object of punishment is the prevention of crimes in society. There are different theories of punishment. The object behind any theory of punishment is to minimize reduce crime rate and to ensure social security. The different theories of punishment are stated below –
- Deterrent Theory – The term ‘Deter’ means “to abstain from doing the act.” This theory says that punishment is a warning to others. The main object of punishment, according to this theory, s to deter (prevent) crimes. It serves as a warning to the offender not to repeat the crime in the future but also to all other evil-minded people to abstain from committing such an act (crime). Despite certain defects, this theory is regarded as a workable one. It is one of the vital considerations of punishment. The law demands that the offender should be adequately punished for the crime so that it can deter the offender and other persons from committing similar offences. Any liberal attitude by imposing a meagre sentence or taking a too sympathetic view merely on account of a lapse of time or personal inconveniences in respect or taking a too sympathetic view merely on account of lapse of time or personal inconveniences in respect of such offences will be result-wise counterproductive in the long run and against societal interest which needs to be cared for and strengthened by string of deterrence built in the sentencing system.
- Retributive Theory – The word ‘Retribute’ means “to give in return.” The term ‘Retribute’ denotes “repaying or punishing suitably.” This theory is based on the idea of taking revenge against the wrongdoer. The basic assumption of this theory is, that evil should be returned for evil. The victim could inflict the same injury to the wrongdoer. That we can say ‘an eye for an eye, a tooth for tooth, a limb for a limb.’ The idea behind this theory is to make the offender realize the suffering/pain. This type of punishment was called ‘QISAS’ (KISA) in ancient Mohammedan Criminal Law. This system is prevalent in some Islamic countries. The main object of this theory is to prevent bad practice by resorting to bad practice. This theory is subject to criticism on the ground that it is brutal and barbaric. According to this theory, crime is an offence against man (not against the public/society/community at large) and encourages personal revenge.
- Preventive Theory – This theory is known as the “Theory of disablement.” This theory envisages preventing the criminal from committing crimes by keeping him away so that society is free from the incident of crimes. The aim of this theory is to disable the criminal. In order to prevent a repetition of crimes, the offenders are punished with death, imprisonment for life, transportation of life, etc. this theory is criticized on the ground that prevention of crime may be done by reforming the behaviour of criminals.
- Reformative Theory – With the passage of time, criminal science witnessed a radical change in criminological thinking. The reformative theory seeks to bring about a change in the attitude of the offender so as to rehabilitate him as a law-abiding member of society. This theory envisages that punishment should be used as a measure to reclaim the offender and not to torture or harass him. The object of this theory is to reform the criminals. No one is a criminal by birth. A criminal is a product of his social, economic, and environmental conditions. Crime is a mental disease, caused by different anti-social elements. Therefore, the mental cure of criminals rather than awarding punishment will serve the purpose. If the criminals are educated and trained, they can be made competent to behave well in society. According to modern penology, punishment is no longer Retributive or Deterrent, but Reformative or Rehabilitative. This theory also is subject to criticism on the ground that there is no punishment involved in it n the sense of some sort of pain and hence, it cannot be regarded as punishment in the true sense. The author of an American study also criticized reformist ideology saying, “It never commended more than lip services from most of its more powerful adherents. The reformative aspect is meant to enable the person concerned to relent and repent for his action and make him acceptable to society as a useful social being. Reformation should hence be the dominant objective of punishment and during incarceration; every effort should be made to recreate the good man out of a convicted prisoner. An assurance to him that his hard labour would eventually snowball into a handsome saving for his own rehabilitation would help him to get stripped of the moroseness and desperation in his mind while toiling with the rigours of hard labour during the public policy. Hence, they serve a public purpose.
- Expiatory Theory – The word ‘expiate’ means “to make complete atonement for, or to make satisfaction or reparation for.” This theory is based on morals. Hegal and Kohler are the supporters of this theory. According to this theory, expiation or repentance by the offender itself is a punishment. If the offender expiates or repents, he must be forgiven. This type of punishment was prevalent in ancient Indian Criminal Law. Expiations were performed by way of uttering mantras, fasting, self-immolation or even burning oneself to death.
None of the above theories can be adopted as the sole standard of punishment for the perfect penal code. The system of criminal justice is the result of a compromise between the underlying principles of all the theories.
PUNISHMENTS DEFINED IN INDIA
Before passing of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 Mohammedan Criminal Law was applied to both the Mohammedan and Hindus there are o many defects in the Mohammedan Criminal Law, viz., defects in the mode of punishments, principles of the law of Evidence etc. There were five kinds of punishments in Mohammedan Criminal Law, namely
- Kisa (Qisas)
- Diya (Blood Money)
- Hadd (Fixed Punishment)
- Tazeer (Discretionary Punishment)
- Siyasat (Punishment by the king in the interest of the public).
- Kisa – It meant retaliation. The injured/victim or his relatives could inflict seminar punishment to the offender. Ex: life for life, limb for limb. It can be applied to grave offences like murder.
- Diya – Diya or Diyat meant “blood money”. The offender could get exemption from criminal liability by making payment to the injured/victim or his/her hier. In the case of murder, the heir of the deceased had an option to accept Diya (exempting the offender from punishment by accepting money) or kesa (to inflict similar punishment to the offender).
- Hadd – Hadd means “boundary or limit”. In the case of Hadd, the punishment was fixed and the judge did not have a discretionary power to award more or less punishment fixed. Ex: The punishment for “Zina” (illicit intercourse0 was death by stoning, for theft, and amputation of hands.
- Tazeer – Means “discretionary punishment”. The judge had complete discretion to award punishment to the offender. Ex: Sodomy, Forgery of Deeds etc.
- Siyasat – The King, in the interest of the public could award punishment to the offenders.
The above punishments were reformed later.
Punishments under the Indian Penal Code:
Section 53 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 prescribes five kinds of Punishments as follows:
Death Penalty – It is the most serious nature of punishment. Some countries abolished it. It is awarded in India in certain exceptional cases. The offences which are punishable with a death sentence under the Indian Penal Code include:
- Waging war against the Government of India (section 121)
- Abetting mutiny actually committed (section 132)
- Giving or fabricating false evidence upon which an innocent person suffers death (section 194)
- Murder (section 302)
- Abetment of suicide of a minor or an insane or an intoxicated person (section 305)
- Attempt to murder by a person under sentence of imprisonment for life, if hurt is caused (section 307)
The law confers on the judge wide discretionary power in the matter of passing a sentence. However, under section 303 I.P.C. the judge has no such discretionary power since section 303 prescribes capital/death sentence compulsorily in case of a life imprisonment convict, who is found guilty of committing murder while undergoing the sentence of imprisonment for life. Therefore, section 303 was struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
Imprisonment for Life– The words “imprisonment for Life” for the words “transportation for life”. It denotes ‘rigorous imprisonment for life.’ It means imprisonment for the remaining period of life (i.e., till death). But in practice, it is not so. In India, it is 14 Yrs. and 20 Yrs. under section 57 I.P.C. however; the life convict is not entitled to automatic release on completion of 14 Yrs. Imprisonment unless the Government passes an order remitting the balance of his sentence. Section 55 of the I.P.C empowers the appropriate government to commute the period of life imprisonment.
The sentence of Imprisonment or Life is provided for many offences under the IPC as given:
- Waging War alternative with death (section 121).
- Conspiracy against the state (section 121A).
- Collection of arms etc., with the intention of waging, was against the government of India (section 122).
- Sedition (section 124A).
- Waging War against any Asiatic Power in alliance with the government of India (section 125).
- Robbery with hurt (section 394).
- Receiving property stolen in dacoity (section 412).
Imprisonment – means confinement or total deprivation f personal liberty. It is of two kinds namely,
Rigorous Imprisonment – In the case of rigorous imprisonment the offender is put to hard labour such as grinding corn, digging the earth, cutting firewood, mowing grass etc. the maximum imprisonment that can be awarded for an offence is 14 Yrs (under section 57 of IPC). The lowest term actually named for a given offence is 24 hours (section 510 of the IPC), but the minimum is unlimited. The following offences mentioned in the IPC are punishable also by rigorous imprisonment:
- Personating a public servant (section 170)
- Punishment for bribery (section 171E)
- Punishment for false evidence (section 193)
- Causing miscarriage (section 312)
- Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt (section 323)
Simple Imprisonment – In the case of simple imprisonment, the offender is confined to jail and is not put to any kind of work. The following offences are punishable with simple imprisonment only:
- Public servants unlawfully engaging in trade; or unlawfully buying or bidding for property (section 168, 169).
- International insult or interruption to a public servant sitting in any stage of a judicial proceeding (section 228).
- Wrongful restraint (section 341).
- Misconduct in a public place by a drunken person (section 510).
A sentence can be wholly or partly rigorous or simple.
As per section 60 of the IPC, in every case in which an offender is punishable with imprisonment which may be of either description, it shall be competent to the court to direct in the sentence that such imprisonment shall be wholly rigorous, or that such imprisonment shall be wholly simple, or that any part of such imprisonment shall be rigorous and the rest simple.
Supreme Court Guidelines regarding employment of prisoners, and wages. –
- It is lawful to employ the prisoners sentenced to rigorous imprisonment to do hard labour whether he consents to do it or not.
- It is open to the jail officials to permit other prisoners also to do any work which they choose to do providing such prisoners make a request for that purpose.
- It is imperative that the prisoner should be paid equitable wages for the work done by the. In order to determine the quantum of equitable wages payable to prisoners, the state concerned shall constitute a wage fixation body for making recommendations. We direct each state to do so as possible.
- Until the State Government takes any decision on such recommendations every prisoner must be paid wages for the work done by him at such rates or revised rates as the government concerned fixes in the light of the observations made above. For this purpose, we direct all the State governments to fix the rate of such interim wages within six weeks from today and report to this court in compliance with this direction.
- We recommend to the state concerned to make law for setting apart a portion of the wages earned by the prisoners to be paid as compensation to deserve victim of the offence he committed which entailed the sentence of imprisonment to the prisoner, either directly or through a common fund to be created for this purpose or in any other feasible mode.
Forfeiture of Property – Forfeiture of Property means taking away the property of the criminal by the state as punishment. The punishment of absolute forfeiture of all property of the offenders is now abolished. Section 61 and 62 of the Penal Code dealing with such forfeiture are repealed by Act XVL of 1921.
There are the following offences in which the offenders are liable o forfeiture of specific property:
- Committing depredation on territories of Power at peace with the government of India (section 126).
- Receiving property taken by war or depredation (section 127).
- The property was purchased or bid by a public servant unlawfully (section 169).
5. Fine – Fine is derived from ‘finis’, and is so called because its payment puts an end to the offence for which it is imposed. A fine is a pecuniary punishment imposed by a lawful tribunal upon a person convicted of a crime or misdemeanour. A fine is a sum of money ordered by the court in the exercise of criminal jurisdiction to pay as a punishment for an offence. Fine may be the sole punishment or alternative or it may be in addition to imprisonment. Fine is the only punishment in the following cases:
- The person for whose benefit a riot has been committed not having duly endeavoured to prevent it (section 155).
- Publication of a proposal regarding a lottery is punishable with a fine exceeding Rs. 1,000/- (section 294A).
- Committing of a public nuisance not otherwise punishable is punishable with a fine not exceeding Rs. 200/- (section 290).
- Failure to keep election accounts (section 171 – I).
- Voluntarily vitiating the atmosphere so as to render it noxious to public health is punishable with a fine up to Rs. 500/- (section 283).
Punishment in criminal cases is together punitive and reformative. The purpose is that the person establish guilty of committing the offence is made to realize his fault and is deterred from repeating such acts in future. On the commission of a crime, here types of reactions may engender the traditional reaction of universal nature which is termed as punitive approach. It regards the criminal as a notoriously dangerous person who must be inflicted with severe punishment to protect society from his criminal assault. It regards the criminal as a sick person requiring treatment, while the third is the preventive approach, which seeks to eliminate those conditions from the society, which were responsible for the crime causation. Under the punitive approach, the rationalization of punishment is based on retributive and utilitarian theories.
Deterrent theory, which is also part of the punitive approach, proceeds on the basis that the punishment should act as a deterrent not only to the offender but also to others in the community.
The therapeutic approach aims at curing criminal tendencies, which were the product of contaminated psychology. The therapeutic approach has since been treated as an effective method of punishment, which not only satisfies the requirements of the law that a criminal should be punished and the punishment prescribed must be meted out to him but also reforms the criminal through various processes, the most fundamentals of which is that in spite of having committed a crime, maybe a heinous crime, he should be treated as a human being entitled to all the basic human rights, human dignity and human sympathy. It was under this theory that this court in a stream of decisions, provided the need for prison reforms, the need to acknowledge the vital fact that the prisoner, after being lodged in jail, does not lose his fundamental rights or basic human rights and that he must be treated with compassion and sympathy.
In the case of Dhannajoy Chatterjee V. State of West Bengal, the Supreme Court has observed that a shockingly large number of criminals go unpunished, thereby increasingly encouraging the criminals and ultimately making justice suffer by weakening the system’s credibility. Realizing that it is not the brutality of punishment but it’s surely that serves as a greater deterrent, our Supreme Court held that a barbaric crime does not have to be visited with a barbaric penalty such as public hanging which will clearly violate Article 21 of the constitution.
In the case of D.K. Basu V. State of West Bengal, it was held by the court that –
- The police carrying out the arrest conduct interrogation of arrestee bear accurate, clear, and identical name, and age with their designation.
- The police shall prepare a memo of arrest at the time of the arrest.
- The time and place of arrest, venue of custody, and venue of the arrestee must be noticed by friends and relatives by the police.
- The arrestee should examine at the time of arrest his major and minor injuries officer shall prepare an inspection memo.
- The arrestee shall be examined by a trained every 48th hrs, during custody.
- Copy of all documents including the memo of arrest sent to Ilaka Magistrate.
- The arrestee must be permitted to meet the lawyer.
- A police control room must be provided at all district and state headquarters.
PUNISHMENTS AWARDED IN DIFFERENT COUNTRIES
India: India majorly follows the reformative type of punishment theory which aims at cleansing the minds of the offenders. For rape criminals, life imprisonment to death sentence has been defined under IPC.
- France: 15 years to life imprisonment
- China: Death sentence or castration
- Saudi Arabia: Beheading within days
- North Korea: Death by firing squad
- Afghanistan: Shot in the head or hanged to death
- Egypt: Death by hanging
- Iran: Hanged to death
- Israel: 16 years to life
- USA: Imprisonment for life
- Russia: 3 to 20 years of imprisonment
- Norway: minimum 4 years not exceeding 15 years of imprisonment
All these punishments are for rape criminals. Considering a country like North Korea, they understand the brutality of the offence. The right to live with dignity is my natural right; no person has the right to take this natural right from any person. Criminals who infringe others’ rights should not enjoy their rights. Taking an eye for an eye will make the world blind is what Mahatma Gandhi worshipped. Some quote, “taking eyes from those who first started taking others is what countries should follow.”
In countries like Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, and African countries for anyone who has committed a range of offences including kidnapping, robbery, drug abuse, vandalism, rioting, sexual abuse, possession of weapons and for foreigners who overstay their visas by more than 90 days they are punished by the process of caning i.e. the corporal punishment which consists of a number of cuts or strokes which are applied on the culprit’s body in front of people or in a room till he dies by blood loss majorly.
Some of countries use firing squads for execution. For example, the United Arab Emirates, Somalia, Indonesia and others use a squad firing to death as an execution method.
Recently lethal injection has been implemented in some countries to execute criminals instead of the death penalty or firing squad. The state of Utah in the USA which used to execute through firing squad has recently upgraded to lethal injections. Today, five countries including China, Guatemala, the Philippines, United Arab Emirates, and the United States use lethal injection drugs to eliminate criminals which they consider an unwanted part of society. Some the countries like Taiwan and Thailand have though legalized lethal injection; they still use the firing squad.
Saudi Arabia still uses the traditional method of execution by a swordsman beheading the guilty.
The USA is the only known country to use electrocution i.e. to execute by giving an electric shock to death, as a method of the death penalty.
A COMPARATIVE ACCOUNT OF THE CRIME RATE IN DIFFERENT COUNTRIES (AS PER 2021)
|Name of the Country||Rate of crime(crime as per 1 lakh of the population)||Total Population|
The crime rate in the above format is calculated by dividing the number of reported crimes by the total population, and then the result is multiplied by 100,000.
The different crime rates in different countries suggest that there have to be certain reasons as to why these crimes are committed there are no particular reasons for the commission of crimes but there are certain factors that attribute to the high crime rates.
High crime rates are seen in countries or areas where there are:
- High poverty levels
- Low employment rate
- Less education
- Strict laws and harsh sentences tend to reduce crime rates,
- The social rigidness of mentality, methods, habits etc.
- Less awareness about rights etc.
The United States has sharply decreased their violent crime rate over the past 25years and has reached an index crime rate of 46.73.
Some of the lowest crime rates are of Qatar, Japan, UAE and other countries. These countries generally have stricter punishments and effective law enforcement which helps in prevailing peace in society. It also depends on the degree of crime. Countries such as Austria which has a crime rate of 23.3, it does not have much serious offence crimes, it involves in petty crimes like snatching, pick pocketing etc.
The different theories consist of different types of punishment and for a better judicial system, it is of the utmost significance to analyse the type of punishment required for specific crimes. Therefore the comparative account of the types of punishments used in different countries suggests that even sometimes with stricter punishments like in Saudi Arabia or the USA the crime rate can increase. There can be a number of the population who does not comply with the present order of the state. Therefore it is necessary to come up with better punishment methods that may involve all the theories.
THE NEED FOR ALTERNATIVE PUNISHMENT METHODS
The general perspective of punishments is to prevent further crimes in society and to make sure peace comes eventually. But according to the National Crime Records Bureau report on statistics on the crime rate in India the number of crimes reported in the year 2018 was more than 50 lakh. This number increases every year at a double rate. This data includes all types of crimes defined in IPC as well as in special legislations.
- In 2018, out of a total of 50 lakh crimes, 68% of crimes were registered under IPC and
- Under SLL crimes, the majority of cases were registered under the Prohibition Act accounting for 25.3% (65,003 out of 2,56,765 cases) followed by the City/Town Police Acts accounting for 23.4% (59,955 cases) and the Motor Vehicle Act accounting for 7.6% (19,641 cases) during 2018.
The biggest drawbacks of Indian laws are their methods of criminal punishment. If we evaluate the punishments given for theft and rash driving which are the most common crimes are Imprisonment or Fine not exceeding three years and imprisonment or fine not exceeding 6 months respectively. Now the question of concern is why is the number of such crimes in spite of the punishments increasing?
Punishments are supposed to reform the individual and prevent others to commit such crimes. But the number has reached 50 lakh which is of utmost worry. To justify this crime rate different theorists refer to their theories and state that if the appropriate alternative punishment would have been provided then peace would have reached society. But now one of the important questions to deal with is whether it would be right to award a harsher punishment to such crimes or lenient punishment for such crimes?
While solving this issue we need to keep in mind that there are not only the extremists’ punishment available for crimes but also there is certain balanced punishment which will not only provide help to the people but also will be able to bring a change in society.
- The simplest yet available solution countries forget to implement is the provision of job availability. In countries like India, there are much-needed jobs for development, especially in the secondary sector. Therefore providing reformation to people considering the factors which led them to commit a crime would not only prevent further commission of a crime by the same person but also will be beneficial for the development of the country.
- Another punishment method for a crime could be mental balancing. There are times when people are forced or coerced to commit a crime, for them it would have been difficult to escape the situation and will be further harsh to complete the punishment which might be brutal as well. For such situations, it is necessary to review the punishment degree and consider psychological testing for analyzing the reasons for the abetment of the crime.
- Imposing of the stricter death penalty. Capital punishment is one of the brutal punishments amongst all and for a heinous crime; it is significant for the judiciary to satisfy the victim in every way possible. Some countries like Saudi Arabia have public execution and brutal punishment which made it possible to decrease their crimes to 46 per 100000 people. India is nowhere near to the figure until it changes its ways of punishing the victims.
- In a country like India, it is not possible to keep feeding criminals out of public money. Some of them are even provided with Television, refrigerator, ACs etc. luxurious items in order to maintain their standards. There are more than 4.5 lakh prisoners (out of which 139488 are convicts and others are under trial prisoners) residing in prisons at half of the capacity, which are provided with basic necessities like 3 meals a day, health care products, basic clothes, bedding etc. keeping up with the demands criminals India sanctioned a budget of Rs. 6068.7 crores in 2018-19 for prisoners. Reformation is what Mahatma Gandhi believed in but is it a practical option in a country like India? No.
- With the increase in criminals, the budget for the prisoners increases, therefore, taking down the economy. Making them work and pay their earnings to the victim will be a brutal punishment in all. Giving them basic necessities from their own earned money will make them suffer and earn. This will increase the economy and may as well decrease the crime rate and the budget can be effectively utilized for development.
- Brutal punishments, public execution, forfeiting of everything they have, etc. will be effective punishments for a country where the poverty rate is so high that if the money spent on prisoners is used for these poverty struck areas, the country will surely develop at twice its rate.
- Another reformative and severe punishment would be making them learn and then providing them with education with their own money. Since education is also one of the material reasons for the crimes happening in society, it is important for reformation through better education.
- The most important and obvious solution which is key to every wrong in the country is providing faster justice. The delay in trials, and judgments lead to an increase in under-trial prisoners. The total number of under-trial prisoners was 323537 in the year 2018. This number is thrice the number of convicts in jails. The number increases every year with the increase in the pendency of cases. It takes years for some prisoners to even get parole and to get justice is still a dream of some.
The heart of Indian sentencing policy is the Reformation and rehabilitation of victims and offenders which is though not in a structured format. Alternatives like compounding, plea bargaining, community service, etc. are methods used as alternative punishments which are still in reach of their intensity. Customized punishment has always been considered in India but now is the time to look into other factors as well. The crime rate has been increasing since the last decade to almost double rate and with those other elements like economy, poverty, etc. are damaged and eventually, the development is sabotaged. Though the dilemma about the best theory of punishment is still unresolved if taken into account certain complex punishments suggested in the paper, then the statistics will differ. Therefore, with the paper, I would like to bring the change that people are looking forward to in order to live in a peaceful environment.
The formation of alternative punishment is the eventual step to decrease the crime rate, and it is not necessary to do it by either decreasing criminals or in hope of reforming them completely, with a punishment which may include compensation, reformation, deterrence, etc. each in a proportionate amount.
Indian Laws and Statutes
- Indian Penal Code 1860.
- Probation of Offenders Act 1958.
- The Representation of People Act 1951.
- The Constitution of India 1950.
- Code of Criminal Procedure 1973.
- ‘Crime Rate by Country 2020’ (Worldpopulationreview.com, 2020) <https://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/crime-rate-by-country/> accessed 15 May 2020.
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