Concept of Punishment under Indian Laws


By: Laiba Tahreem

Introduction to Punishment.

Punishment. A term which is inalienable to criminal equity. It is simply because of the term punishment, that specific demonstrations are named ‘crimes’. Down the path of the historical backdrop of the general public, we have seen that without punishment, it would have now and then been difficult to tame the uncouth, just as crude inclinations of people in general. It was the weapon named ‘punishment’, that the rulers use it against their subjects to keep a fear in the brains of general society with respect to the limits and powers of their rulers. punishments now and then were likewise given as an affront to another person. In any case, the most well-known discipline from which we all are recognizable is the admonishing or gentle beating that we get from our folks.

Under the approval of the law, punishment is reprisal on the guilty party to the enduring face to face or property which is exacted by the criminal. Punishment is the path through which a criminal can be halted from doing offenses against individual, property, and government. Consequently, disciplines can be of different kinds like:

1. Deterrent: In Deterrent theory of punishment, the expression “Deter” signifies to keep away from doing any unjust act. The principle point of this theory is to “deter” (to forestall) the criminals from endeavoring any crime or rehashing a similar wrongdoing in future. In this way, it expresses that dissuading crime by making a dread is the goal; to set or build up a model for the people or the entire society by rebuffing the crook. That basically implies, as indicated by this theory in the event that somebody perpetrates any crime and he/she is rebuffed by a serious punishment, at that point, it might result perhaps that the individuals of the general public will be or might know about the extreme disciplines for particular sorts of violations and in view of this dread in the psyches of the individuals of the general public, individuals may prevent from carrying out any sort of crime. This theory of punishment is utilitarian in nature.

2. Reformative: The concept of the Reformative Theory is speculation. According to this theory, the object of control should be the difference in the convict, through the methodology for individualization. It relies upon the humanistic guideline that whether or not a miscreant executes a bad behavior, he doesn’t stop to be an individual. Thusly, an effort should be made to transform him/her during the hour of his/her confinement. For instance, he may have executed awful conduct under conditions which may never happen again. Consequently, an exertion should be made to change him during the hour of his control. The object of request should be to achieve the ethical contrast in the subject party. He should be told and play out some craftsmanship or industry during the hour of his imprisonment with the target that he may have the choice to begin his life again after his transport from prison.

3. Retributive: The Retributive Theory of Punishment, or the ‘Hypothesis of Vengeance’, the same number of individuals in the general public would see it similar to, the most fundamental, yet impolite theory of exacting a reformatory sentence over a culprit. It depends on an exceptionally little convention, specifically the tenet of Lex talionis, which whenever deciphered, signifies ‘an eye for an eye’. Presently, whenever took a gander at from the point of view of intense and egregious offenses, similar to the Delhi assault case, individuals may feel that it is smarter to cause such retributive disciplines, to guarantee that an obstacle is set across the general public, to forestall such violations sooner rather than later.

4. Utilitarian theory: The utilitarian theory of order attempts to rebuke blameworthy gatherings to weaken, or “block,” future terrible conduct. Under the utilitarian way of thinking, laws should be used to enhance the delight of society. Since bad behavior and order are clashing with happiness, they should be kept to a base. Utilitarian’s grasp that a bad behavior free society doesn’t exist, yet they endeavor to bring about the same amount of control as is expected to prevent future infringement.

The utilitarian theory is “consequentialist” in nature. It sees that control has implications for both the miscreant and society and holds that the hard and fast extraordinary made by the order should outperform the total perniciousness. Toward the day’s end, discipline should not be endless.

Fundamental principles for imposition of punishments.

1- The need for criminal equity impulse.

2- The proportionality of discipline dependent on the nature and level of the danger which is available against the major opportunities, common liberties, social qualities, rights ensured and secured under the Constitution.

Punishments Under Indian Penal Code:

 Section 53, explicitly states various kinds of punishments which can be given by the Criminal Courts if the individual is held at risk under the Code.

Section 53: Punishments: —The punishments to which offenders are liable under the provisions of this Code are:

First – Death;

Secondly – Imprisonment for life;

Thirdly- Penal Servitude [Omitted by Act 17 of 1949]

Fourthly – Imprisonment, which is of two descriptions, namely-

(1) Rigorous.

(2) Simple.

Fifthly – Forfeiture of property;

Sixthly – Fine

There are five sorts of punishment explained under Section 53 of the Code:

1- Death: Capital punishment is a punishment which is authorized by the public authority and requested by the court where an individual is executed for a crime done by him. It is likewise alluded to as ‘The death penalty’. The demonstration of doing such practice is called execution. In India, capital punishment is given by the technique for hanging. Different routes through which capital punishments executed at world situations are stoning, sawing, blowing from a weapon, deadly infusion, electric shock, etc. The subject of capital punishment consistently has involved contention. While considering the Constitution as the incomparable, the legality of capital punishment v/s fundamental rights continually approached for the discussions. Nonetheless, the capital punishments are rarely given in the Indian criminal courts.

Section 115– Abetment for an offence punishable with death or imprisonment for life (if offence not committed).

Section 118– Concealing design to commit an offence punishable with death or imprisonment for life.

Section 121– When armed rebellion (i.e. waging, abetting to waging of war or attempting to wage war) is made against the constitutionally and legally established government.


Section 132– Uprising, supporting and encouraging the formation of the mutinous group of people in the nations armed forces.

Section 194- With the intent to obtain a death sentence to an innocent by presenting concocted vexatious proof.

Section 302– Causing murder of another.

Section 305– Abetting suicide to an insane or minor person.

Section 303– When a life convict person murders another person.

Section 396– Causing dacoity with murder.

Section 364A– Kidnapping.

Section 376A (as per the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013)- Rape

Case laws:

• Bachan Singh v. State of Punjab.

• Jagmohan Singh v. State of Uttar Pradesh.

• Sangeet Anr. v. State of Haryana.

2- Imprisonment for life: Life imprisonment is one of the sorts of punishment which is perceived under Section 53 of the IPC. Prior this was otherwise called transportation forever. This punishment is given for genuine violations wherein the indicted stays in jail until his/her final gasp.

Section 57 of the IPC is utilized when divisions of terms of punishment should be determined. In any case, comprehend that this segment doesn’t give any suggested or unequivocal right to the prisoner to decrease his life detainment to 20 years of the sentence. Under section 116,119,120 and 511 of the Code, the prisoner can request help under this part.

• There will be no release before fourteen or twenty years of life imprisonment.

• The detainee has no such right as to release.

• The time of life imprisonment can’t be diminished. It can’t be less than 14 years.

Case laws:

• Gopal Vinayak Godse v. State of Maharashtra.

• Md. Munna v. Union of India.

• Bhagirath v. Delhi Administration.

3- Penal Servitude (Omitted by Act 17 of 1949): Sentence of Europeans and Americans to penal servitude instead of transportation. —Whenever any person being a European or American is convicted of an offence punishable under this Code with transportation, the Court shall sentence the offender to penal servitude instead of transportation, according to the provisions of Act XXIV of 1855.”.

Case laws:

• State of Maharashtra v. Chandrabhan Tale.

• Kadar v. muthukoya Thangal.

4- Imprisonment: The general defination of imprisonment implies bondage or to place somebody in jail. Under Section 53 of IPC, imprisonment can be of two sorts. One is simple and the other is rigorous. According to Section 60 of the IPC, the competent court has the circumspection to choose the portrayal of condemning.

Indian Penal Code accommodates imprisonment that might be rigorous or simple. Thorough imprisonment or a predefined term is granted in offenses of genuine nature, for example, house trespass (Section 449) or giving or manufacturing bogus proof with plan to acquire conviction of capital offense (Section 194).

Simple imprisonment implies housing of an individual inside the jail with just light obligations and such people are not needed to do hard work. Presinor condemned to straightforward detainment are given work just based on their solicitation and subject to their actual wellness. Simple imprisonment is forced for lighter offenses, for example, unjust limitation or slander.

Case Laws:

• Kishori Lal v. Emperor.

• Naib Singh v. State of Punjab.

• Ramappa v. Hanumanthappa.

• State of Gujrat v. High court of Gujrat.

5- Forfeiture of property: Forfeiture generally means loss of property with no remuneration consequently, which is the aftereffect of the default brought about by the individual regarding legally binding commitment, or in taking care of punishment for illicit lead.

In two arrangements the forfeiture of the property has been annulled:

1- Under Section 126 for submitting plunder on regions of Power content with the Government of India.

2- Under Section 127 for getting property taken during war or theft referenced in areas 126 and 126 of IPC.

Case Laws:

• P.P Abdullah v. Competent Authority.

• Nagindas B Patel v. Union of India.

• Emperor v. Lal Chand.

6- Fine: The court may force a fine as an option for imprisonment or can add it is an option to the imprisonment. In specific cases the fine is added alongside imprisonment. Area 63 to 69 covers different fines under the IPC. According to Section 64 of the Code, when there is a default in the installment of a fine, the court may arrange for Imprisonment.

According to Section 63 of the IPC, when the total isn’t communicated under the arrangements of the Code, the measure of fine to which the guilty party is subject is limitless, be that as it may, the fine will not be inordinate.

          Under IPC Section 64, the accompanying offenses are covered:

• Imprisonment with fine.

• Imprisonment or fine.

In such cases, the court of skill will guide the sentence to the guilty party for a specific term. Under Section 66 of the IPC, the court has the attentiveness to give any depiction to the detainment.

Case Laws:

• Palaniappa Gounder v. State of Tamil Nadu.

• Shantilal v. State of M.P.

• M.C Mehta v. Kamal Nath.


Consequently, we saw the various types of Punishments in detail. We comprehended what are the core values behind them, how are they unique in relation to each other and some significant Case Laws relating to the equivalent. In any case, we need to see obviously that punishment is something which should be incurred cautiously. As the saying goes that ‘Let go of a hundred guilty, rather to punish an innocent’, we need to comprehend that exacting a punishment upon somebody changes his psychological, physical and societal position radically. It has a grave effect upon him and his being. Consequently, while managing criminal equity, utter watchfulness must be executed, or probably the very standards of equity would go for a throw.



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