Speech on the Expiation Theory of Punishment

Lily, Criminologist, opines: “The criminal violates the law, and trespasses against another person and causes injury/harm. Thus he becomes a debtor to the victim. It is just to the Court to pass an award of compensation payable by the criminal to the victim.

By paying compensation, the society recognises the right of the victim. He satisfies. There is no question of personal revenge. The criminal is too punished economically. Thus the criminal justice system achieves its target of prevailing. The peace and prosperity in the society, and to prevent the crimes in the State.”

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Purpose:

Generally, in other system of punishment, the victim is not taken into consideration. The present criminal justice system concentrates only on punishing the criminal. The Courts are not in position to point out the grievance of the victim or his family members.

They only have the aim to 1 prevent the crimes. They only know to’ punish the criminals. Recently by the efforts of the sociologist’s criminologists, penologists, etc., the criminals are also not punished severely, and there are certain rehabilitative and reformative steps taken to reform the criminals. It is a good and welcome measure

Then what about the real victims, who suffered in the hands of such criminals? In majority cases, the real victim also becomes as a criminal and wants to take revenge against the wrong-doer or his family.

Psychologically, economically, socially, etc., the victim is not satisfied by mere punishment on the criminal. The jurisprudents, jurists, criminologists, penologists, sociologists, etc., too are not concentrating.

However, recently separate researchers, scientists under the name of “Victimologists” are propounding to give certain remedies to the aggrieved victims and their families. This separate science is called “Victimology”. This theory supports Expiation Theory.

According to the Victimologists, the chain reactions of personal revenges can be decreased in the society by awarding compensation to the victims from the property of the criminals. It can prevent the criminal behaviour in the society. Because it stops chain reaction. It subsides the personal revenge.

Economically too, the victim or his family members satisfy with the money and can lead their remaining life safely. It also creates repentance in the minds of the criminals.

Thus considerable sects of modern criminologists, jurists, penologists, jurisprudents, sociologists, etc. support the idea of victimology and expiation theory.

State vs. Sayyaduddin 1996 AP

Justice Motilal Naik of A.P. High Court gave a sensational judgment on 25-11-1996 covering this expiation theory. The case particulars are: Sayyaduddin and his brother raided Maslehuddin due to personal grudges.

As a result Maslehuddin was killed. The High Court imposed three years imprisonment to the accused and awarded Rs. 60,000/- as compensation payable by the accused to the family members of Maslehuddin.

Delivering the judgment, Justice Motilal Naik observed: “By imposing imprisonment on the accused could not be helpful to the family members of the victim. In my opinion, it is better to help the victim’s family members, as there is no one to look after them after the death of the bread-earner.

Therefore, it is justified to impose a penalty/fine of Rs. 60,000/- on the accused besides sending him to prison for three years.”

Criticism:

The penologists criticise the expiation theory opining that this theory is sufficient to meet the less serious type of offences, such as abuse, assault, defamation, trespass, torts, etc.

However, the expiation theory could not be a solution in cases of murder, plunders, rapes, kidnapping, thefts, etc., serious natured offences. If the compensation is allowed to be paid in rapes, the number of rapists will be increased.

The rich people will be habituated to rape the poor women, and pay the compensation. By their money, they become recidivists. They can escape imprisonment by paying money.

Therefore, it could not prevent the serious offences. One more difficulty in Expiation theory is what measures the compensation can be fixed in cases of rape, kidnapping, murder, etc.?

Sometimes, the criminals may not have sufficient money to pay compensation. How much compensation can be awarded to a woman raped? How the society will react against her and rapist?

If the woman raped is awarded money, does she not become habituated in filing false complaints? So by expiation theory, the crimes cannot be prevented, even though certain amount of compensation is awarded to the victims.

Therefore, it is not a correct remedy to prevent the crimes in the society. However, in the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 this theory is already being implemented.

This Code classifies the offences in two categories – one serious natured crimes and another simple crimes. Section 320 of Cr.P.C. describes certain crimes, which can be compoundable. The accused can compromise with the victim by paying money or apology.

Assault, defamation, etc: are classified as “compoundable offences” under Section 320 CrPC. The framers of the Code intentionally excluded the offences of murder, kidnapping, rape, theft, etc., from compoundable offences.

These cases are not compromisable and compoundable. The State shall inquire, investigate and punish the culprit to protect the society from such culprits.

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