Punishment And Theories Of Punishment



Administration of justice is the primary functions of the State, is generally divided into administration of civil justice and Administration of Criminal Justice. The main purpose of Administration of criminal justice is to punish the wrongdoer. It is the State which punishes the criminals. From the ancient times, a number of theories have been given concerning the purpose of punishment. Section 53 to 75 of the Indian Penal Code 1860 deals with the scheme of Punishment.

Punishment is a process by which the state inflicts some pain to the person or property of person who is found guilty of Crime. The object of punishment is to protect society from mischievous and undesirable elements by deterring potential offenders, by preventing the actual offenders from committing further offences and by reforming and turning them into law abiding citizens.



Punishment is primarily deterrent when its object is to show the futility of crime, and thereby teach a lesson to others. Deterrence acts on the motives of the offenders, whether actual or potential. Deter means to abstain from doing at act. The main objective of this theory is to deter (prevent) crimes. It serves a warning to the offender not to repeat the crime in the future and also to other evil-minded persons in the society. This theory is a workable one even though it has a few defects.


Retribute means to give in return. The objective of the theory is to make the offender realise the suffering or the pain. In the Mohmmedan Criminal Law, this type of punishment is called ‘QISAS’ or ‘KISA’. Majority or Jurists or Jurists, Criminologists, Penologists and Sociologists do not support this theory as they feel it is brutal and barbaric. Retribution basically means that the wrongdoer pays for his wrongdoing, since a person who is wronged would like to avenge himself, the State consider it necessary to inflict some pain or injury on the wrongdoer in order to otherwise prevent private vengeance.


The idea behind this theory is to keep the offender away from the society. The offenders are punished with death, imprisonment of life, transportation of life etc. Some Jurists criticize this theory as it may be done by reforming the behaviour of criminals.


The objective is to reform the behaviour of the criminals. The idea behind this theory is that no one is born as a Criminal. The criminal is a product of the social, economic and environmental conditions. It is believed that if the criminals are educated and trained, they can be made competent to behave well in the society. The Reformative theory is provided to be successful in cases of young offenders.


Expiatory theory of Punishment is based on morals. According to this theory repentance or expiration by offender itself is a pinihsment. If the offender expiates or repents, he must be forgive. Expiatory theory of Punishment was prevalent in ancient Indian criminal law. Expiations were performed by way of uttering mantras, fasting or even burning oneself to death.


According to theory of compensation the object of punishment must not be merely to prevent further crimes but also to compensate the victim of the Crime.

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