In ancient time, people were lived in forest. At that time, their concerns
were food, habitation and security from wild animals. But, with the passage of
time, people started to live in collection or in society. Now, their concerns
were totally changed. They wanted Personal safety, particularly security of
life, liberty and property. The people wanted to live peacefully and without
fear, in the society. Every person wants to save one from the crime of any
Actually crime denotes a wrongful act or omission of such a kind that the state
deems it unfit or illegal, in the interest of the public. Crime has been a
significant problem ever since the beginning of human civilization and till
today, man cannot achieve complete success to finish criminality from society.
There is no society in this universe which is not oppressing with the problem of
crime and criminality.
When the crime is committed, it is important that some
kind of pain must be inflicted on the accused. The punishment must be some kind
of unpleasant experience for accused because retribution is the ingredient of
human nature. It is important to cool down the feeling of retribution by
punishing the accused. This is possible only when the penal law is effective and
strong enough to deal with the violators of law. In India, the Indian Penal Code
is the important legislation which deals with the different kinds of crime and
There are many local and special laws existed other than Indian
Penal Code in India but none of it is significant as the Indian Penal Code.
Indian Penal Code is a legislation that criminalized many human conducts as
illegal and it will be done, the appropriate punishment would be awarded to the
In modern world, the punishment is considered as a good mean to stop
the prospective criminal behaviour. The punishment creates fear in the heart of
prospective criminals that if he done the same offence, punished likewise. It
ultimately helps in the eradication of criminality from the society.
Punishment is the imposition of an undesirable or unpleasant
outcome upon a group or individual imposed by an authority. The study and
practice of the punishment of crimes is called Penology. The authority may be
either a group or a single person and punishment may be carried out formally
under a system of law or informally in other kinds of social settings such as
within a family. Imposition of punishment on accused has certain objectives.
main objective of punishment is reform the accused and become a fit subject for
society. Other objective of punishment is to deter the similar criminal behaviour in future. According to Manu:
"Penalty keeps the people under
control, penalty protects them, penalty remains awake when people are asleep, so
the wise have regarded punishment as a source of righteousness."
are applied most generally to encourage and enforce proper behavior as defined
by society. Criminals are punished judicially, by fines, corporal punishment or
custodial sentences such as prison. Punishment may also be applied on moral as
in penance or imposed in a theocracy with a religious police or by
The punishment and the crime are the two side of a coin. The
punishment should not be disproportionate to the crime. The punishment should
not be too severe as the crime demanded and should not be too lenient as to fail
to serve the purpose of the punishment. It should be proportionate that's would
be avail to serve the purpose of the punishment.
Kinds of punishment:
Section 53 of Indian Penal Code defines the various
kinds of punishment. Section 53 says that the punishments to which offenders are
liable under the provisions of this Code are:
These are the five types of punishment mentioned in the Indian Penal Code.
Death or Capital punishment:
- Imprisonment for life;
- Imprisonment, which is of two descriptions, namely:
- Rigorous, that is, with hard labour;
- Forfeiture of property;
Punishment of death is also called capital
punishment. Under this punishment, a person is hanged till he dies. This
punishment is provided only for serious offences like murder, and others. A
death sentence is the highest degree of punishment awarded under Indian Penal
Code. It is the very horrible and painful mode of punishment. Capital punishment
is awarded in rarest of rare cases. This punishment is awarded by the court of
law and sanctioned by the appropriate government.
The main purpose of awarding
death penalty is deterrence. It discourages the person who planned to do same in
future. It is far more powerful and effective mode of deterrence than life
imprisonment because the fear of death for human being is very terrible than
that of life imprisonment. The award of capital punishment is matter of great
controversy. Many believe that it is morally excluded and others believe it is
Arguments are made both in favour and against the retention of
the capital sentence as a form of punishment. Arguments in favour of retention
of capital punishment said that it is a unique mode of the deterrence for the
professional criminals. Another argument is that morally demanded for the
welfare of the society. It is a good mode of retribution or reprobation for the
worst type of crimes. Arguments also made against the retention of the capital
punishment as the mode of punishment.
The major argument is that, it is morally
wrong because only God can take the life of a person as he provides. No one
other than God can take the life of a person. Another argument against the
retention of the capital punishment is that the award of death penalty
confronted the accused and his family with grave and immediate poignant
suffering and pain.
It is argued that mental pain and torture suffered by the
accused in waiting of the date of execution is very inhuman and barbaric stage
for human being. The capital punishment or death sentence can be awarded for
the offences under section 115, 118, 121, 132, 194, 302, 303, 305, 364(A) and
376(A) of the Indian penal code.
Constitutional validity of Capital Punishment:
validity of capital punishment has been questioned many times before the Supreme
Court of India. In the case of Jag Mohan Singh V. State of U.P issue rose
that the death penalty is unconstitutional and hence invalid as a punishment. In
the case, the contention was that it violated the article 14 of the Indian
Constitution. It is also the violation of article 21 of the Indian Constitution
because of the lacking of fixed procedure of sentencing.
The Honorable Supreme
Court rejected all the contentions and held that the deprivation of life is not
unconstitutional if it is done according to the procedure established by the
law. The Honorable Supreme Court declared capital punishment valid. Further in
the case of Rajendra Prasad v. State of U.P
, the Honorable Supreme court upheld
his previous judgement of Jagmohan case but laid down a guideline for awarding
The Supreme Court held that in awarding the capital
punishment in the case of 302 of IPC and 354(3) of CrPC, the courts should have
read these sections in the light of part III and IV of the Constitution and
death sentence may be awarded only to the white collar criminals and hardened
criminals. In this case, Justice Krishana Iyer pleaded for the abolishment of
capital punishment as a mode of punishment.
Since every saint had a
past and every sinner a future, never wright off the man wearing the criminal
veneer attire but remove the dangerous degeneracy in him, restore his retarded
human potential by holistic healing of his fevered, fatigued or frustrated
inside and by repairing the repressive, though hidden, injustice of the social
order which is vicariously guilty of the criminal behaviour of many innocent
Bachan Singh V. State of Punjab
, in the case the principle of rarest
of the rare case is evolved. The held that the death may be awarded in the
rarest of the rare case. The death sentence would only award when other options
will close. In this case the Supreme Court laid down a guideline for sentencing
of death sentence and also provided a list of aggravating circumstances as well
as mitigating circumstances.
In Machhi Singh V. State of Punjab
, The Supreme
Court held the death sentence valid and stated that the motive of crime, manner
of commission of crime and anti-social nature of crime should take into
consideration while awarding the death sentence.
The words imprisonment for life
was substituted for transportation for life
by Act XXVI of 1955. In punishment of the life
punishment, the accused is to remain in prison until he is alive or until
pardoned. Imprisonment for life means imprisonment for the whole of the
remaining term of the convicted person's natural life otherwise commuted to a
fixed period by the appropriate government. Section 55 of the IPC and section
433(b) of the CrPC provides power to appropriate government for the commutation
of death sentence.
The appropriate government may reduce or suspend the sentence
of imprisonment for life to imprisonment for a term of not more than 14 years of
either description; rigorous and simple. The term of imprisonment for life may
be considered as twenty years when there is a need of calculating the term of
life imprisonment. As section 57 of the Indian Penal Code says, "In calculating
fractions of terms of punishment, imprisonment for life shall be reckoned as
equivalent to imprisonment for twenty years."
Imprisonment is a most simple and very common mode of
punishment for in India. imprisonment is a method by which the accused and unfit
subject of society put into prison for a particular period of time with a view
to make him a subject to society. Section 53 of Indian Penal Code mentioned
imprisonment of two description; rigorous and simple. Imprisonment means to
restrict the freedom of a person and put him in the prison.
Rigorous imprisonment is a form of imprisonment
under which an accused or a prisoner convicted for a crime is kept in prison
subject to hard labour such as agriculture, carpentry, drawing water, etc.
Rigorous imprisonment is obligatory for the offences given under the following
two sections (no alternative for simple imprisonment is available). The sentence
of imprisonment may be wholly rigorous or wholly simple and partly rigorous or
partly simple. The section 60 of Indian Penal Code authorizes the courts to
decide the type of imprisonment.
The following are some offences which are
punishable with rigorous imprisonment.
- Section 194, IPC: Giving or fabricating false evidence with intent to
procure conviction of capital offence
- Section 449, IPC: House-trespass in order to commit offence punishable with
- Sec 392, IPC: Robbery
- Sec 395, IPC: Dacoity
simple imprisonment is a form of imprisonment in
which the accused or offender is confined to jail but not subject to any hard labour as in case of rigorous imprisonment. Simple imprisonment is awarded where
a fine will not sufficient as to serve the purpose of the punishment. In the
simple imprisonment, it is ensured that the accused should be keep away from the
habitual or professionals criminals.
The simple imprisonment is awarded in the
- Section 341, IPC: Wrongful Restraint
- Section 403, IPC: Criminal disapprobation of property
- Section 500,501,502 IPC: Defamation
- Section 509, IPC: Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman
- Section 510, IPC: Misconduct in a public place by a drunken person
Fine is defined as the monetary punishment. The fine imposed as the
punishment in the crimes which are not of serious nature. It is the very common
mode of punishment. It is generally imposed in less serious offences such as
breach of traffic rules and revenue this system of punishment was used in almost
all penal system. Financial penalty was either in shape of fine or compensation
The Indian penal code restricted the courts to impose excessive fine.
While imposing the fine, the courts must take into consideration the economic or
financial condition of the accused. Section 63 says, "Where no sum is expressed
to which a fine may extend, the amount of fine to which the offender is liable
is unlimited, but shall not be excessive." 
Crime and punishment are two important aspect of criminal law. The crime and
punishment runs simultaneously. It is general principle of criminal law that the
punishment should not be excessive as the crime demands. The punishment should
not too excessive and not too lenient as to fail to achieve the purpose of
punishment. It is believed that the chief purpose of punishment should be
reformation and deterrence. The punishment should be awarded keeping in the mind
the culpability of accused.
The offenders should be punished in such way that becomes the cause of
reformation for him and deterrence for others. The Indian Penal code mentions
five types of punishment; Death penalty, Imprisonment for life, Imprisonment
(simple and rigorous), forfeiture of property and fine.
All these punishments awarded according to the severity and mildness of the
crime. In India, there are no general principles of sentencing. It is depend on
the discretion of the court. Yet, the Supreme Court in their many judgment
issued guidelines in this regard. As, there is no statutory guideline of
sentencing, therefore great variation in sentencing is noticed.
- Section 53, Indian Penal Code
- S.N. Misra, Indian Penal Code, 135 ( Central Law Publications, Prayagraj,
22nd edn. 2020)
- S.N. Misra, Indian Penal Code, 140 ( Central Law Publications, Prayagraj,
22nd edn. 2020)
- Section 57, Indian Penal Code
- Section 60, Indian Penal Code