Lynching becomes very common when the society at large does not bother about the consequences of the actual crime. With the recent development of the acquittal of all the accused in the lynching of Pehlu Khan. Apparently, very clearly states that our judicial system has not been able to cope up with the changing times and their effect of the appreciation of evidence. The thing which is of considerable evidence is the entire video of the incident. The question thus arises whether we are back to ‘No One Killed Jessica’, but this time with a different set of facts?
Let’s have a look at the theories of punishment in a criminal justice system.
The ‘retributive theory of punishment’ is based on the principle of an eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth. This lays emphasis on the retribution, which must be given to the victim or his family members. So this establishes that the punishment enforced should be directly proportional to the crime committed.
The ‘preventive theory of punishment’ rests on the principle of preventing the crime rather than avenging it. Looking at punishments from a more humane perspective, it rests on the fact that the need of a sentence for a crime arises out of mere social needs, i.e., while sending the criminals to the prisons, the society is in turn, trying to prevent the offender from doing any other crime and thus protecting the society from any anti-social elements.
The ‘reformative theory of punishment’ is based on the complete reformation of the criminal. This reformation is specifically related to the psychological and social aspect too. This theory can clearly be seen as the most humane of all methods of punishment. The thought of not looking to criminals as inhuman is the base of this theory. It puts forward the changing nature of the modern society where it presently looks into the fact that all other approaches have failed to put forward any such stable theory, which would prevent the occurrence of further crimes.
Thus, as most of the criminal justice systems have found out over a period of time that no one particular approach is perfect, a combination of these approaches continues to exist in several countries of the world including India.
As a student of criminal psychology, one does a study about the fact that when the person is actually involved with a criminal surrounding, then a lot of the cultural and the surrounding factors also contribute to one being a sympathizer of mob lynching.
The various theories of punishment have mostly failed Indian society. From crimes against the women to children to Dalits to the minorities as well as the oppressed in general, there has been an increase in such crimes on an alarming ratio. The same needs to be checked by the actual implementation of the laws which are quite good. The corruption in the entire criminal justice system also needs a relook.
This entire action should be taken up by the government and the administration on a priority basis because the whole foundation of criminal jurisprudence is at stake.