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Punishment is the suffering in person or property inflicted by the state on the offender under the established criminal law. A term that's inherent to criminal justice. It's miles handiest because of the term punishment, that sure acts are categorised as ‘crimes’. Down the lane of the history of the society, we've got seen that without punishments, it would have sometimes been impossible to tame the barbaric, as well as primitive tendencies of the public It became the weapon named ‘punishment’, that the rulers used against their subjects so that they can preserve a worry within the minds of the general public regarding the capacities and powers of their rulers. The person who violates the rules of the society is inflicted punishment, to maintain peace and order in society. The kind and size of punishment vary depending on the nature of the offence and the personality of the offender. The theories of punishment are as follows:

  • Retributive theory

  • Deterrent theory

  • Preventive theory

  • Reformative theory


The object of Punishment is to guard the society against mischievous and undesirable factors by deterring potential offenders, by way of stopping the actual offenders from committing similar offences and using reforming and turning them into law-abiding citizens. Punishment has 5 diagnosed functions:

  • Deterrence

  • Incapacitation,

  • Rehabilitation,

  • Retribution, and

  • Restitution

  • Deterrence:- Deterrence prevents future crime by using fear of the defendant or the general public.

  • Incapacitation:- Incapacitation prevents future crime by way of putting off the defendant from society. Examples of incapacitation are incarceration, house arrest, or execution under the demise penalty

  • Rehabilitations:- Rehabilitations prevents future crime by using altering a defendant’s conduct

  • Retribution:- Retribution prevents future crime with the aid of disposing of the choice for personal avengement against the defendant.

  • Restitution:- Restitution prevents destiny crime via punishing the defendant financially


Each society has its manner of social manipulation for which it frames certain legal guidelines and also mentions the sanctions with them. These sanctions are not anything however the punishments. ‘The first issue to mention about the definition of punishment is the ineffectiveness of definitional boundaries aimed to expose that one or other of the proposed justifications of punishments either logically encompass or logically excluded by definition. Though at some point in the historic duration of history punishment was more severe as fear turned into taken as the high instrument in preventing crime. However, with the change in time and development of the human mind, the punishment theories have turned out to be greater tolerant to those criminals. Debunking the stringent theories of punishment the present-day society is seen in loosening its hold on the criminals. The present state of affairs additionally witnesses the opposition of capital punishment as inhumane, even though it became a prime form of punishing the criminals earlier.

As punishment generally is applied in criminal law it becomes imperative on our component to know what crime or an offence truly is. Consequently, it becomes very critical on behalf of society to punish the offenders. Punishment can be used as a technique of reducing the prevalence of criminal behaviour either via deterring the ability offenders or with the aid of incapacitating and preventing them from repeating the offence or by reforming them into law-abiding citizens. Punishment, whether or not felony or divine, needs justification. Due to the fact, the justification of criminal punishment has been given more consideration with the aid of philosophers than has the justification of divine punishment with the aid of theologians, the philosophical principles and 'theories of punishment’ (i.E. The justifications) will be used as a foundation for considering divine punishment.


Many times this punishment has been termed as a method of social safety. The affinity of punishment with many different measures related to deprivation by the nation morally identified rights is generally evident. The justifiability of these measures in particular cases can be controversial, however, it's miles rarely under a fireplace. The attempt to supply punishment the same justification for punishment as for different obligatory measures imposed using the state does now not always involve a selected point of view on the troubles of deterrence, reform or bodily incapacitation. As punishments generally punish the responsible mind it turns into very crucial on the part of the researcher to what crime truly is.


Consistent with Justice Holmes 'it is typically known that the early varieties of prison manner were grounded in vengeance. In ancient times, the punishment was retributive. The criminals were gotten rid of for the good of the community. Their attitude was that of vengeance of a tooth for a tooth and an eye for an eye The concept at the back of this principle is to make the culprit recognize the struggling/pain. The struggling imposed by the state in its corporate capacity is taken into consideration as the political counterpart of character revenge. Here the punishment inflicted on the offender by revenge adds pain and suffering to the misery already occasioned by the offence of the criminal. The supporter of this theory are

  • Immanuel Kant

  • Plato

  • Hegel

Punishment is the result of any offence. Punishment is inflicted on a person for the only reason that he has committed a crime. There must be a restoration of moral order in the society which is possible only by punishing the offender in the same manner as the victim. Punishment by revenge utilises the evil effects of the crime. It can be simply stated that the enactment of any law brings about two units in the society- the Law-abiders and the law-breakers. It's miles reason for these theories of punishment to via any approach remodel or change those law-breakers to the organization of abiders. To recognize the subject the researcher would like to bring about a legitimate relationship between crime, punishment and the theories.


The object of this theory is to inflict deterrent punishment on the offender and thus make him an example to warn others as to commit similar offences as they do so they will also have to face the same consequences. Deterrent way, "infliction of intense punishments with punishments that prevent the perpetrator from committing the crime once more.". According to this idea, the object of punishment isn't to save the offender from doing a wrong a second time, but additionally to make him an instance to others who've Criminal tendencies. Salmond considers deterrent elements of criminal justice to be the most crucial for managing crime.

The deterrent idea was the basis of punishment in England within the Medieval length. Severe and Inhuman punishments had been ordered and inflicted even for minor offences like pickpocketing and stealing and so on. The culprits have been subjected to the severe punishment of death by using stoning and whipping. In India at some point in the Mughal period, the penalty of a death sentence or mutilation of the limbs was imposed even for the petty offences of forgery and stealing and many others. Even today in most of the Muslim international locations, including Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, the deterrent idea is the premise of Penal Jurisprudence


The Object of criminal justice is to prevent the commission of crimes. The Preventive theory is also called the 'theory of disablement'. So according to this theory, law inflicts certain pains on citizens, if they do certain harmful acts. Punishment is based on the proposition, "no longer to avenge crime but to prevent it" The purpose of this idea is to disable the Criminal. Offenders are disabled from repeating the crime by using awarding punishments, along with death, exile or forfeiture of a workplace.

By placing the criminal in jail, he is averted from committing another crime. The supporters of this theory recognize imprisonment as the best mode of punishment as it serves as a powerful deterrent as also a beneficial preventive measure. Bentham supported the preventive theory because of its humanizing effect on Criminal Law.


According to this theory, death is not a fitting punishment for a criminal. Society must cure a criminal and not kill him. Consistent with the Reformative principle, the item of punishment is the reformation of criminals. This idea seeks to bring about trade within the mind-set of the culprit which will rehabilitate him as a law-abiding member of society. Even if a culprit commits against the law under certain circumstances, he does not quit to be a man or woman. The instances under which he devoted the crime might not arise again. Crime is an intellectual ailment, caused by exceptional anti-social elements

The purpose of this theory is to reform the inbuilt character of the wrongdoer by making him do what is right and not do what is wrong. The vital object of punishment is to

  • Reform

  • Educate

  • Discipline


About criminal sanctions, what human beings believe to be appropriate is largely decided by means of the idea of punishment to which they subscribe. That is, people tend to consider the concept of punishment that is maximum possible to generate the final results they agree with is the appropriate one. All through the extra liberal times of the 1960s and 1970s, criminal sentences had been in large part the domain of the judicial and executive branches of government. The function of the legislatures at some point of this era was to design sentencing laws with rehabilitation as the number one aim. All through the politically conservative generation of the 1980s and 1990s, lawmakers took lots of that power far from the judicial and govt branches. The correctional desires of retribution, incapacitation, and deterrence have become dominant, and rehabilitation turned into a distant role. A popular reason for punishment is that it gets criminals off the streets and protects the public.


  1. The Indian Penal Code - Bare Act

  2. Indian Penal Code - SN Mishra

  3. Criminal Law - P.S. Pillai








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