Under the law, punishment is provided to cease the wrongdoer from committing the
crime again. Punishment is a consequence or result of a wrong committed by a
person. Provision for punishment are provided under Sec 53 and chapter 3 of the
Indian Penal Code (IPC). The Section defines various kinds of punishments to
which the offenders are liable under the Indian Penal Code. The punishments
given under Sec 53 apply only to offences given under this code.
In India, the
reformative theory is followed to provide punishment. The punishment awarded
should neither be so harsh nor so easy so that it fails to serve its purpose in
generating impact on the offender and as an eye-opener for others.it is
considered that punishment should be of such a nature that it brings reform in a
person's personality and thinking.
Sec 53 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860
prescribes 5 kinds of punishments.
- Death Penalty
- Life imprisonment
- Forfeiture of property
Death penalty is also called the capital punishment. Under this punishment, a
person is hanged till he dies. The infliction of death sentence or taking away
the offenders life by authority as a punishment for an offence is capital
punishment or death penalty. In India it is awarded in rarest of rare cases.
may be awarded as punishment in the following offences:
- Waging war against the government of India (Sec 121)
- Abetting mutually actually committed (Sec 132)
- Giving or fabricating false evidence upon which an innocent person suffers
death (Sec 194)
- Murder (Sec 302)
- Murder by life convicts (Sec 303)
- Abetment of suicide of a minor or an insane or intoxicated person (Sec 305)
- Dacoity accompanied with murder (Sec 396)
- Kidnapping for ransom (Sec 364A)
- Bachan Singh Vs the State of Punjab (AIR 1980 SC 898,1980)
Upheld the validity of the death penalty, but the court restricted the provision
of the death penalty in rarest of rare cases only. If the case falls under this
theory, then capital punishment may be given.
- Jagmohan Singh Vs State of Uttar Pradesh (1973 AIR 947,1973 SCR (2)541)
The death penalty is unconstitutional and hence invalid as a punishment. The
Supreme Court held the death penalty as valid. It held that deprivation of life
is constitutionally lawful if that is done according to the procedure set by
The words imprisonment for life was substituted for transportation for life
by Act XXVI of 1955.In its ordinary connotation imprisonment for life means
imprisonment for the whole of the remaining life period of the convicted
person's natural life. According to Sec57 imprisonment for life shall be
reckoned as equivalent to imprisonment for 20 year's. But only for calculating
fractions of terms of punishment imprisonment for life shall be reckoned as
equivalent to imprisonment for 20yrs.But otherwise the sentence of imprisonment
for life is of indefinite duration.
- Bhagirath And Ors Vs.Delhi Administration (1985 AIR 1050)
The supreme court of India defined imprisonment for life as imprisonment for the
remainder of the natural life of the convict. If life imprisonment is given to a
person, he shall stay in the prison for a minimum of 14 years and the maximum is
the rest of his life.
- Naib Singh V.State of Punjab And Ors. (AIR 1986 SC 2192)
The supreme court of India cleared the confusion with the duration of life
imprisonment and section 55 of IPC. The court held that a life convict cannot
claim for his release after serving 14 years in prison. Life imprisonment
continues until the death of the prisoner. The only exception to this is
commutation and remission.
Imprisonment means taking away a person's freedom and putting him in prison.
According to Sec 53 of the IPC, there are two kinds of punishments:
- Simple: it is a punishment in which the offender is confined to jail
only and not subjected to any hard labour.
The following are some offences which are
punishable with simple imprisonment:
- Wrongful Restraint (Sec 341)
- Uttering any word or making any sound or gesture with an intention to
insult the modesty of a women (Sec 509)
- Misconduct in a public place by a drunken person (Sec 510)
- Defamation (Sec 500,501,502)
- Criminal misappropriation of property (Sec 403)
In this case the offender is put to hard labour such as
grinding corn, digging, cutting wood etc. The following are some offences which
are punishable with rigorous imprisonment:
- Kidnapping in order to murder (Sec 364)
- Robbery (Sec 392)
- Dacoity (Sec 395)
- House breaking in order to commit offence punishable with death (Sec
Forfeiture Of Property
- Gautam Dutta Vs. State of Jharkhand (10 feb 2016)
The boy named Atif Mustafa get kidnapped intentionally and the kidnappers
murdered him and disposed of his body to protect themselves from the criminal
trial. M.D Safique is already in the court trial. During the court trial court
find about his second crime of kidnapping a boy with his 3 friends. Court Find
them and convicted them for the offense of kidnapping which is punishable under
Section 364a, 120b IPC.
- Md.Munna Vs. Union of India and Ors (AIR 2005 SC 3440)
The writ petition is filed under article 32 of the Indian constitution. The
petitioner was found guilty of murder. And previously he has already got
imprisonment for life for 21 years. In this petitioner claimed that life
imprisonment should be equivalent to 20 years and further subject to remission
admissible under law.
Forfeiture implies the loss of property of the accused. Under this punishment,
the state seizes the property of a criminal.it is the result of the wrong or
default caused by the person. The property forfeited may be movable or
In two provisions the forfeiture of the property has been abolished:
- Under Section 126 for committing depredation on territories of power at
peace with government of India.
- Under Section 127 for receiving property taken during war or depredation
mentioned in section 126 of IPC.
Fine can be simply defined as monetary punishment. Almost all the sections
related with awarding punishment includes fine as punishment. However section 63
says where 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.
- Palaniappa Gounder Vs. State of Tamilnadu (1977 AIR 1323)
The apex court stated that the sentence given by the court shall be
proportionate to the nature of the offence which includes the sentence of fine.
And the punishment shall not be unduly excessive.
We have discussed various punishments which are imposed differently in different
offences, the term, nature, etc varies in each case and offences and also
according to courts. All the punishments are retributive, reformative and
deterrent in nature. It is stated that a reformative approach to punishment
should be the object of criminal law.Award Winning Article Is Written By: Ms.Sandra P Raphy
Authentication No: SP127393079615-30-0921