Sentencing Policies in India and their impact on Crimes

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Sentencing Policies in India

Written By: Nikita Mandal


Crime and punishment have formed a very important aspect of society today.  A certain regime needs to be enforced.  However, it is a fact that no severe punishment can be imposed on the accused because it is very strict and very ignorant about the rights of the accused.  Defendants have the right to certain basic human rights that violate certain penalties.  Also, giving judges discretion in deciding fines would violate fundamental rights.  A balance needs to be struck between the rights of both victims before a policy of conviction can be formulated.  The article goes on to say that part of the legislature needs to introduce some policy, a certain level of coercive force to keep an eye on its rights and international obligations.

How effective are the Sentencing Policies for stopping crime

The rationale for punishment may be to protect a child from self-harm, to impose social harmony, to protect the norm, to protect against future harm (especially those who commit violent crimes), and to uphold the rule of law – and respect for the rule of law – under which social groups operate. Imposition may include fines or imprisonment.  Punishments include retaliation, resistance, rehabilitation, and disability.  These may include measures such as the latest isolation to prevent contact with potential victims of the wrongdoer or to prevent the removal of a hand to make theft more difficult. May include prohibitions such as torture, separation, and the death penalty.  Corporal punishment refers to punishment where physical torture is inflicted on the transgressor. Their reciprocity with the crime and the punishments can be judged as fair or unjust.

The lack of relevance to criminal offenses is that the threat of punishment will prevent people from committing crimes and reduce the likelihood and/or level of crime in society.  This is one of the five purposes for which punishment is intended;  The other four objectives are condemnation, disability (for the protection of society), revenge and rehabilitation.

There are two possible applications of the crime prevention theory: the first is that the punishment imposed on individual offenders will prevent or deter that particular offender from committing further crimes;  The second is that public knowledge that some crimes will be punished as a general deterrent effect that prevents others from committing crimes.

Two different aspects of punishment can have an effect on resistance, the first being that by increasing the certainty, apprehension, and possibility of punishment, it can have a preventive effect.  The second is how severe punishment for a particular crime related to the severity of the punishment can affect behavior.

Punishment of Case

  • Murder

Anyone who kills will be sentenced to death or [life imprisonment] and will have to pay a fine.

A person who commits a felony that is not a homicide [life imprisonment], or a term of imprisonment of up to ten years, may also be liable to a fine, causing death by intent to cause death or cause of bodily injury which may cause death.  , Or an extension of up to ten years, or a fine, or both, if this is done with the knowledge that it may cause death, but without any intent to cause death, or to cause bodily injury which may cause death.

Suljina Dhan vs. State of Assam

The incident was a quarrel between husband and wife.  The husband killed his wife with an ax.  The wife mistakenly pressed the ax on her husband.  As a result, the court ruled that the outcome was the result of a fight and that such a fight provoked the wife suddenly and fatally.  So he should fall under this exception.  So blaming the wife for the guilty murder is not the same as murder.

  • Theft

The punishment for theft is up to three years’ imprisonment, a fine, or both.

Pyarelal Bhargava v. State AIR 1963

In this case, a government employee took a file from the government office and presented it to someone else, and brought it back to the office after two days of taking it away. It was held in this case that permanent taking away of a person’s property is not essential, even a temporary takeaway of the property with dishonest intention is enough to constitute the offense of theft

  • Rape

Any person committing the offense of rape shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than ten years, but which may extend to imprisonment for life, which shall mean imprisonment for the remainder of that person’s natural life, and shall also be liable to fine. After the Nirbhaya case, a juvenile can also be tried as an adult depending upon the circumstances of the case.

Nirbhaya Rape Case

Nirbhaya” is the pseudonym used for the rape victim of the infamous 16 December 2012 Delhi gang-rape incident. On just another chilly December night in Delhi, Nirbhaya and her friend were returning from a movie theatre, they were waiting for a bus. One of the would-be culprits convinced them to get on an empty bus with tinted windows. They were assaulted by six males, one of whom was a minor, aged 17. The friend, when he tried to protect Nirbhaya, was beaten up by the perpetrators. Nirbhaya was not just sexually violated, her body was mutilated beyond human imagination. Her intestines were pulled out, and private parts mutilated. She later died of multiple organ failure, internal bleeding, and cardiac arrest on the 29th of December.


In any legal system, justice for the members of society is of prime importance. In this domain, protection of rights through fair trials, and a proper punishment mechanism need to be envisaged, which is able to strike a balance between the victim and the accused. The cases can no longer be decided by giving such wide powers to the judges and leaving the criminal justice system on the whims and fancies of the judges. The judges do back their opinions by rationales, but such rationale is not able to satisfy the needs of the criminal justice delivery systems and is leading to an incoherent legal system. A sentencing policy that reduces this wide latitude is the need of India to a coherent legal system.

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