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This article is written by Raunak Chaturvedi, a student of Amity University, Kolkata.


Punishment. A term which is inherent to criminal justice. It is only because of the term punishment, that certain acts are classified as ‘crimes’. Down the lane of the history of the society, we have seen that without punishments, it would have sometimes been impossible to tame the barbaric, as well as primitive tendencies of the public. It was the weapon named ‘punishment’, that the rulers used against their subjects in order to maintain a fear in the minds of the public regarding the capacities and powers of their rulers. Punishments sometimes were also given as an insult to someone else. However, the most common punishment from which all of us are familiar is the scolding or mild beating that we get from our parents. In that case, what are the theories of punishment actually in case of serious crimes? How did they develop? What are the pros and cons of the various ways of punishing people? Do the Hindu scriptures too depict any form of the punishments mentioned hereinafter? Through this paper, we will try to answer all such questions and understand how far are the various Theories of Punishment applicable in the present era. The theories of punishment are as follows:


Let us have a look at each one of them in detail.

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Retributive Theory of punishment

The Retributive Theory of Punishment, or the ‘Theory of Vengeance’, as many people in the society would perceive it as, is the most basic, yet inconsiderate theory of inflicting a penal sentence over a perpetrator. It is based on a very small doctrine, namely the doctrine of Lex talionis, which if translated, means ‘an eye for an eye’. Now, if looked at from the perspective of very serious and heinous offences, like the Delhi gang rape case, people may feel that it is better to inflict such retributive punishments, so as to ensure that a deterrent is set across the society, in order to prevent such crimes in the near future.

However, we forget to understand sometimes that always having a retributive approach will render the society one with a primitive system of justice, where the Kings or the Judges were considered to be the supreme beings and were provided with the stature of God Himself (hence the address My Lord) and thus, collapse the very concepts of the representatives being ‘servants’. Before we move on to a deeper understanding of the Retributive Theory, we need to understand two very important doctrines. Let us have a look at them both.

Doctrine of Societal Personification and the Doctrine of Correctional Vengeance:

  • Doctrine of Societal Personification can be stated as-

‘When a member of the society is subjected to a very heinous crime, as a result of which, the whole society, as if it were a natural person, considers the offence to be inflicted upon itself, comes to the defence of that person either by way of demanding justice or by conducting the same on its own, the society is said to be personified.’

A very self-explanatory doctrine. To be put simply, it means that the society, whenever a heinous crime of an extreme form is committed, assumes the form of a natural person and behaves in a collective manner so as to get justice.

Eg: The country-wide protests for the Delhi gang rape case, the current Hathras rape case, etc.

  • Doctrine of Correctional Vengeance maybe stated as-

‘When the society, in a fit to get justice, demands the concerned authorities to inflict vengeful (as painful as the original act, or even more) punishments upon the victim for creating a deterrent, it is said to exhibit correctional vengeance.’ 

The above definition, too, is quite self-explanatory in its nature. Now that we have understood these two doctrines, we have a basic idea about what really is retributivism or retributive justice. Let us now have a closer look upon the same.

Understanding Retributive Theory of Punishment:

‘The concept of retributive justice has been used in a variety of ways, but it is best understood as that form of justice committed to the following three principles:

  1. that those who commit certain kinds of wrongful acts, paradigmatically serious crimes, morally deserve to suffer a proportionate punishment;
  2. that it is intrinsically morally good—good without reference to any other goods that might arise—if some legitimate punisher gives them the punishment they deserve; and
  3. that it is morally impermissible intentionally to punish the innocent or to inflict disproportionately large punishments on wrongdoers.’

The above three principles clarify the needs for retributive justice even further. We may understand retributive justice in this manner. The place where both Criminal Law as well as Moral Law meet, is the place where mostly the retributive punishments are generated. 

In fact, although people may classify punishments into seven different types, but in reality, every punishment, indeed, is retributive in nature. It is very interesting to see that the damages claimed under Torts, or the remedies sort for environmental violations, maybe compensatory, but at their hearts, are retributive in nature. Then why aren’t they labelled as retributive, instead? Well, the answer to the question is simple. Retributive punishments are somewhat vengeful in their nature (an eye for an eye). They may not be vengeful always, but maybe merely morally vengeful. When we say this, it means that although the punishment is not literally the thing that was originally done by the perpetrator, is still acts as a vengeance by virtue of its seriousness.

E.g: If a person rapes someone, capital punishment maybe given as a retributive measure. If we literally give the person back what he did, i.e., sex, then it would be pleasurable rather than torturing for him. Now that we have understood briefly that how exactly the retributive punishment works, let us now move on to understand the ways in which Retributive Theory is displayed in the Hindu texts and scriptures.

Retributive Theory and the Hindu Scriptures:

The Hindu scriptures, particularly the Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Durga Saptashati, are primarily based on Retributive Theories but also, depict the ways in which one should proceed while applying them.

Ramayana- In the Ramayana the whole story began from retribution itself. Lakshmana cut the nose of Raavan’s sister, because of which he kidnapped Sita. In order to rescue her and also to avenge her kidnapping, Ram went to kill Raavan. But, the major difference between the application of the retributive punishment between the two was that Raavan did not even give Ram a chance to repent for his younger brother’s act, but, Ram gave several chances to Raavan to correct his act.

MahabharataMahabharata, once again, is a very good example of how retributive punishment should be inflicted. The Pandavas had not started-off with the war right away. They had sent Shri Krishna as their messenger of peace a number of times to the Kauravas, but, they did not give in. Mahabharata, especially Shrimad Bhagvad Geeta, talks about the time when the retributive mode should be used. As we all know that Arjun was about to leave the battlefield as he was too scared to go against his own relatives, it was Krishna who said that ‘when all other paths close down, only then war is to be resorted to. Because if then the person refuses to fight, then it will inflict gross injustice upon the society at-large.’

Durga Saptashati– In this too, Goddess Durga warns the various demons, i.e. Mahishasur and Shumbh-Nishumbh, repeatedly, before starting a killer spree upon them.

Now, let us move on to see some important case laws regarding this theory of punishment.

Case Laws:

  1. Nirbhaya Judgement– This case is indeed the first and foremost case to be mentioned, while talking about retributive justice in India. In this Judgement, the Supreme Court sentenced four out of six felons involved in the extremely heinous Delhi gang rape case to death, much to the delight of the society, as they had committed an extremely gruesome, as well as morally unimaginable crime.
  2. Anwar Ahmad v/s. State of Uttar Pradesh and Anr.– In this case, the convicted had already undergone a six month imprisonment term, before being officially convicted by the Court. The Court held that since the convict had been convicted and also, the required ‘blemish’ had also been imposed upon him, it was not necessary to sentence him again in the name of ‘retributive punishment’, as it would inflict a very big loss upon the family as well.
  3. Sri Ashim Dutta Alias Nilu vs State of West Bengal– In this case, it was observed that both deterrent and retributive punishment aim at prevention of the recurrences of the offences by others passing exemplary punishment for a particular offence. But the civilization and the societies are progressing rapidly. There is advancement of science and technology. The literate people and the experts in different branches of knowledge started thinking in a different way. Eye for an eye, and tooth for a tooth are no more considered as the correct approach towards the criminals. Such principle may perpetuate the rule of the Jungle but cannot ensure the rule of law.

Pros and Cons:


  1. Acts as a strong deterrent.
  2. Helps in giving moral justice to the victim.
  3. Instils the feeling of trust within the society, towards the judiciary.


  1. Sometimes, may become disproportionate with the seriousness of the crime.
  2. Society develops feelings of vengeance and destructive tendencies follow.
  3. The State may become autocratic in its functioning, using the punishment to torment people. 

Deterrent Theory of punishment

In Deterrent theory of punishment, the term “DETER” means to abstain from doing any wrongful act. The main aim of this theory is to “deter” (to prevent) the criminals from attempting any crime or repeating the same crime in future. So, it states that deterring crime by creating a fear is the objective; to set or establish an example for the individuals or the whole society by punishing the criminal. That simply means, according to this theory if someone commits any crime and he/she is punished by a severe punishment, then, it may result maybe that the people of the society will be or may be aware of the severe punishments for certain kinds of crimes and because of this fear in the minds of the people of the society, the people may stop from committing any kind of crime or wrongful act. Here I used the phrase “may stop” instead of “will stop”. That means, there is a probability of committing any crime or repeating the same crime. 

The deterrent theory of punishment is utilitarian in nature. For a better understanding we can say like, ‘The man is punished not only because he has done a wrongful act, but also in order to ensure the crime may not be committed.’ It is best expressed in the word of Burnett, J who said to a prisoner: 

“Thou art to be hanged not for having stolen a horse, but in order that other horses may not be stolen”. 

Through making the potential criminals realize that it doesn’t pay to commit a crime, the deterrent theory hopes to control the crime rate in the society.

Jurisprudential School of Thought:

The deterrent theory can be related to the sociological school of Jurisprudence. The sociological school creates a relationship between the society and law. It indicates law to be a social phenomenon, with a direct and/or indirect connection to society. One of the main aim of the deterrence is to establish an example for the individuals in the society by creating a fear of punishment.

Now most important question is arrived at; “Who established this deterrent theory of punishment?”

The concept of deterrent theory can be simplifying to the research of philosophers such like Thomas Hobbes (1588-1678), Cesare Beccaria (1738-1794), Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832). These social contract thinkers provided the foundation of modern deterrence in criminology.

In the Hobbesian view, people generally pursue their self-interests, such as material gain, personal safety and social reputation and make enemies, not caring if they harm others in the process. Since people are determined to achieve their self-interests, the result is often conflict and resistance without a fitting Government to maintain safety. To avoid, people agree to give up their egocentricity as long as everyone does the same thing, approximately. This is termed as “Social Contract”. According to this social contract, he stated that individuals are punished for violating the social contract and deterrence is the reason for it to maintain the agreement between the State and the people, in the form of a social contract workable.

According to Cesare Beccaria, while discussing about punishments, the proportion of the crime and punishments should be equal for it to serve as a deterrence or have a deterring value. 

According to J. Bentham, who is known as the founder of this theory, a hedonistic conception of man and that man as such would be deterred from crime if punishment were applied swiftly, certainly, and severely. But being aware that punishment is an evil, he says, if the evil of punishment exceeds the evil of the offence, the punishment will be unprofitable; he would have purchased exemption from one evil at the expense of another. 

From the deterrent theories of Thomas Hobbes, Cesare Beccaria and J. Bentham, we came to know that the theory of deterrence consists of 3 major components. They are as follows:

  • Severity: It indicates the degree of punishment. To prevent crime, criminal law must emphasize penalties to encourage citizen to obey the law. Excessively severe punishments are unjust. If the punishment is too severe it may stop individuals from committing any crime. And if the punishment is not severe enough, it will not deter criminals from committing a crime.
  • Certainty: It means making sure that punishments must happen whenever a criminal act is committed. Philosopher Beccaria believed that if individuals know that their undesirable acts will be punished, then they will refrain from offending in the future. 
  • Celerity: The punishment for any crime must be swift in order to deter crime. The faster the punishment is awarded and imposed, it has more effect to deter crime.

Therefore, deterrence theorists believed that if punishment is severe, certain and swift, then a rational person will measure the gain or loss before committing any crime and as a result the person will be deterred or stopped from violating the law, if the loss is greater than the gain.

According to Austin’s theory, “Law is the command of the Sovereign”. In his imperative theory, he clearly declared three important things, which are as follows: 

  1. Sovereign.
  2. Command.
  3. Sanction.

Austin’s question is that ‘Why do people follow the rule?’. He believes that people will follow the law because people have a fear of punishments. On the basis of his beliefs, we can see a small example over here: When people are biking, they wear a helmet as per biking rules. Now, we can assume that some people wear helmets genuinely to save themselves from road accidents but on the other hand, some people wear helmets because of escaping fines or in fear of cancellation of their biking licence. So, in that case, they know that if they bike rashly or disobey the biking rules they will be punished by giving huge a amount of fine or their biking licence will be cancelled. So here we can say that the purpose of the deterrent theory is successful and applied also.

Now, if we go back a little earlier in time, in our Hindu Scriptures we also see that there were several punishments like public hanging, not only that but also people were immersed in hot oil or water. Most penal systems made use of deterrent theory as the basis of sentencing mechanism till early 19th century. 

  • In England, punishments were more severe and barbaric in nature to restrict same crime in the future. At the time of ‘Queen Elizabeth I’, deterrent theory of punishment was applied for restricting future crimes, even for too little crimes like ‘pickpocketing’.
  • In India also, inhuman punishments are granted.

But, if we discuss or follow this theory in today’s context, then, it will be very clear that “deterrent theory” is not applicable at all or it may not be useful enough to prevent or to deter crimes by creating a fear in the minds of people. We have a very recent example of why deterrent theory is not successful in the case of “Nirbhaya Rape Case, 2012”. This case is the foremost case to be mentioned while talking about deterrent theory of punishment. In this judgement, the Supreme Court sentenced four out of six offenders involved in the extremely heinous Delhi gang rape case to death. Now, the most important questions are-

  • Whether the death sentence to the culprits will act as a deterrent? 
  • Will the number of crimes against women in our society drop down permanently? 
  • Specifically, in Nirbhaya judgement, is the aim of deterrent theory fulfilled? 

The answers are ‘no’. According to deterrent theory, the main objective is ‘to deter crime, by creating a fear or establishing an example to the society.’ Now, death penalty is a severe punishment. In the Nirbhaya case, the Court gave death sentence to the four convicts for committing gang rape. We can say that it is a great example for future offenders who will think about committing a crime like rape in future. So, according to this theory, after Nirbhaya judgment crimes like rape should not happen. But they are happening till now. Day-by-day, rape cases are increasing in our society.

In Nirbhaya gang rape judgement, it’s being suggested that justice has finally been served to “India’s Daughter” and though the decision came after a staggering seven years, it will help to secure the safety of women and prevent rape cases in the future. But it seems to further, as starting of the year 2020 has seen a slew of rape cases continue unabated. As an example, we can see for a recent gang rape case which was happened at Hathras, Balrampur, on 1st October 2020. So, simply we can see that there is no improvement through severe punishments also. “Death penalty does not act as a deter to rape cases”- This is the actual message we have understood. So that’s why we can say that in today’s generation there is no major implication of ‘Deterrent Theory of Punishment’.

Preventive Theory of punishment

Preventive theory of punishment seeks to prevent prospective crimes by disabling the criminals. Main object of the preventive theory is transforming the criminal, either permanently or temporarily. Under this theory the criminals are punished by death sentence or life imprisonment etc. 

Philosophical View of Preventive Theory:

Utilitarian’s such as Bentham, Mill and Austin of England supported the preventive theory of punishment due to its humanizing nature. Philosophy of preventive theory affirms that the preventive theory serves as an effective deterrent and also a successful preventive theory depends on the factors of promptness. The profounder of this theory held that the aim of punishment is to prevent the crimes. The crimes can be prevented when the criminal and his notorious activities are checked. The check is possible by disablement. The disablement may be of different types. Confining inside the prison is a limited form of disablement, that is temporary and when it is an unlimited form of disablement, that is permanent. It suggests that imprisonment is the best mode of crime prevention, as it seeks to eliminate offenders from society, thus disabling them from repeating the crime. The death penalty is also based on this theory. This theory is another form of deterrent theory. One is to deter the society while another is to prevent the offender from committing the crime. From an overall study, we came to know that there are three most important ways of preventive punishment, they are as follows: 

  • By creating the fear of punishment.
  • By disabling the criminal permanently or temporarily from committing any other crime.
  • By way of reformation or making them a sober citizen of the society. 

Case Laws:

  1. Dr. Jacob George v state of Kerala: In this case, the Supreme Court held that the aim of punishment should be deterrent, reformative, preventive, retributive & compensatory. One theory preferred over the other is not a sound policy of punishment. Each theory of punishment should be used independently or incorporated on the basis of merit of the case. It is also stated that “every saint has a past & every sinner has a fortune”. Criminals are very much a part of the society so it is a responsibility of the society also to reform & correct them and make them sober citizens of the society. Because the prevention of crime is the major goal of the society and law, both of which cannot be ignored.
  2. Surjit Singh v State of Punjab: In this case, one of the accused, a policeman entered the house of the deceased with the intention to commit rape but failed to do so as the as sons of the deceased shouted for help. Another accused suggested the policeman to kill the deceased. The accused was held liable under section 450 of the Indian Penal Code. While on the contrary, the death penalty or capital punishment is more of a temporary form of disablement.

Incapacitation Theory of punishment


The word “incapacitation” means ‘to prevent the offence by punishing, so that the future generation fears to commit the criminal act.’ Incapacitation happens either by removing the person from the society, either temporarily, or permanently, or by some other method, which restricts him due to physical inability. One of the most common way of incapacitation is incarceration of the offenders, but in case of severe cases, capital punishments are also applied. The overall aim of incapacitation is preventing or restraining the danger in the future.


“Incapacitation refers to the restriction of an individual’s freedoms and liberties that they would normally have in society.” 

Purpose of Incapacitation Theory: 

One of the primary purposes of this theory is removing the sufficiently dangerous persons from the society. The risk that is found to be posed by the offenders are largely a matter of inception. Therefore, if one country treats one offence in one way, another country will treat the same offence in a different way. For example, in the U.S., they use incarceration to incapacitate offenders at a much higher rate, than in other countries. It has been seen that unlike the other theories of punishments like deterrence, rehabilitation and restitution, the theory of incapacitation simply rearranges the distribution of offenders in the society so that the rate of crime decreases in the society. The main aim of the theory of incapacitation is to dissuade others from the offenders in the past, so that it is not followed by the future generation. 

Application of the theory: 

The theory of incapacitation gets reserved only for those people who are either sentenced to prison or to life imprisonment. Yet, it also includes things like being supervised by the departments within the community, like probation and parole.


The theory of incapacitation was originated in Britain, during the 18th and the 19th centuries, where the convicted offenders were often transported to places like America and Australia. Later in the 21st century, the theory was changed to some extent, where the offenders were to remain in the primary method of incapacitation which was found in most of the contemporary penal systems. Therefore, the theory usually takes the form of imprisonment, which is considered to be the best the form of incapacitation, rather than other methods of incapacitation.

So, can incapacitation reduce crime?

According to a study conducted by The University of Chicago, it has been proven that the crime rates can be prevented by 20 per cent. Also, it has been seen that if other theories are applied like Retributive Theory, Compensatory Theory, etc., then they lay down a fairly stringent application of putting the criminal behind the bars for at least 5 years. Also, it can happen to increase the population of the prison if the rest of the theories are applied. If a small number of high-rate offenders commit a disproportionately large amount of crime, targeting limited prison resources on these offenders should achieve increased crime control without increasing prison populations unreasonably. This policy will depend on the degree of the crime committed and whether the criminal is early in his carrier. 

Compensatory Theory of punishment


The main look out in the law of crimes is to penalize the criminal, and/or to seek his reformation and rehabilitation with all the resources and goodwill available through the Courts and other Governmental and non-Governmental organizations. It must be seen that the criminals should get proper judgement for their crimes so caused and the harassment caused to the victim and towards their family members and property. The victims in a crime can be compensated on mainly two grounds, namely-

  1. A criminal who had inflicted an injury against the person (or group of persons), or the property must be compensated for the loss caused that has caused to the victim, and
  2. The State that has failed to provide safety towards its citizens, must receive compensation for the loss caused.

Compensation is the true essence of deterrent, reformative and a necessary contribution of retribution.

Case Laws:

  • In the landmark case of DK Basu v. State of West Bengal the Apex Court held that a victim who is under the custodial right, has every right to get compensated as her Right to Life, which is under Article 21 of the Constitution, has been breached by the officer of the State. 
  • In State of Gujarat and Anr. v. Hon’ble High Court of Gujarat, Justice Thomas had held that, “The Reformative and reparative theories deserve serious consideration, where the victim(s) of crime or his family members should get compensated from the wages that is earned in prison by the criminal.” The Court suggested that the particular State should enact a comprehensive legislation in respect of his compensation payable to victim of a crime.

Reformative Theory of punishment

The idea of the Reformative Theory is hypothesis. As per this hypothesis, the object of discipline ought to be the change of the crook, through the strategy for individualization. It depends on the humanistic rule that regardless of whether a wrongdoer perpetrates a wrongdoing, he doesn’t stop to be a person. In this way, an exertion ought to be made to change him/her during the time of his/her detainment. For example, he may have executed bad behaviour under conditions which may never happen again. Hence an effort should be made to transform him during the hour of his confinement. The object of order should be to accomplish the moral difference in the liable party. He ought to be told and perform some craftsmanship or industry during the hour of his confinement with the objective that he may have the alternative to start his life again after his conveyance from jail.

History of the Theory:

The human development has consistently been administered under the standard of an incomparable force. The job and type of pre-eminent force has changed throughout a long term. Beginning from the primitive type of Government to the present just, republican and different types of Governments, the obligation of the incomparable authority has changed a lot. The idea of discipline has additionally changed like the idea of State duty throughout the long term. The idea of discipline relied upon the premise of religion and the organization of the Kings. During old occasions, the idea of discipline was retributive premise, where the hoodlums were given uncouth type of discipline. Afterward, over the entry of ages, the significance of common liberties expanded which in essence cleared path for the replacement of Retributive hypothesis by Reformatory and Rehabilitative hypotheses. Under the Reformative and Rehabilitative hypotheses, the blamed are given such structures for discipline which would change them and keep them from perpetrating such wrongdoings. 

The theory of punishment being followed in India with the goal to change the crooks as opposed to rebuffing them isn’t that compelling in avoidance of the event of violations in India. The essential idea of law isn’t to be static, but to be dynamic in nature. At exactly that point the law will have the option to be successful in all fields of the general public.

The Main Purpose Reformative Theory:

The reason for this hypothesis of discipline is to make the criminal languish over his bad behaviour. Here the motivation behind the discipline is profoundly customized and rotates around the mental outlet of the person in question or his family. The primary reason might be accomplished to parole and probation, which have been acknowledged as current procedures of improving the guilty parties all around the globe. Consequently, the backers of this hypothesis legitimize imprisonment not exclusively to separate hoodlums and kill them from society. Not many of the advanced reformative procedures of discipline are essentially concocted for the treatment of guilty parties as per their mental attributes, for example, probation, parole, uncertain sentence, exhortation and pardon. The reformative techniques have demonstrated to be valuable in the event of adolescent misconduct, first wrongdoers and ladies. Sex cases additionally appear to react well to the reformative strategy for discipline. All the more as of late, the reformative hypothesis is in effect widely utilized as a technique for treatment of intellectually denied wrongdoers.


  1. Reformative theory anticipates better framework and offices in jail, legitimate co-appointment between various control and diligent exertion on their part to shape criminals. It requires gigantic ventures which poor nation can’t bear the cost of.
  2. A great many guiltless individuals who have high respects for law are finding hard to get fundamental courtesies hypothesizes moral avocation for giving better offices inside jail. 
  3. Also, the soundness of the hypothesis is more towards motivators for the commission of wrongdoing instead of counteraction. 
  4. Transformation can work out on those individuals who can be improved, there are individuals who can’t be changed like bad-to-the-bone lawbreaker, profoundly instructed and proficient hoodlums. 
  5. This theory disregards possible wrongdoers and people who have submitted wrongdoing however not inside the arms of law. Further, it ignores the cases of survivors of violations.
  6. Degenerate social ecological is liable for wrongdoing yet not person duty, is the way of thinking of reformative which is difficult to process. In any case, it is out of line to excuse the honourable idea of reconstruction as a complete disappointment. All know about the occasions where untalented, uninformed and evidently hopeless lawbreakers have created aptitudes in jail, which have changed them into profoundly valuable people.

Utilitarian Theory of punishment

The utilitarian hypothesis of discipline tries to rebuff guilty parties to debilitate, or “hinder,” future bad behaviour. Under the utilitarian philosophy, laws ought to be utilized to amplify the joy of society. Since wrongdoing and discipline are conflicting with bliss, they ought to be kept to a base. Utilitarian’s comprehend that a wrongdoing-free society doesn’t exist, yet they attempt to incur just as much discipline as is needed to forestall future violations. 

The utilitarian hypothesis is “consequentialist” in nature. It perceives that discipline has ramifications for both the wrongdoer and society and holds that the all-out great created by the discipline ought to surpass the absolute malevolence. At the end of the day, discipline ought not be boundless. One delineation of consequentialism in discipline is the arrival of a jail detainee experiencing an incapacitating sickness. In the event that the detainee’s demise is fast approaching, society isn’t served by his proceeded with restriction since he is not, at this point fit for carrying out wrongdoings. 

Under the utilitarian way of thinking, laws that indicate discipline for criminal leads ought to be intended to dissuade future criminal direct. Discouragement works on a particular and an overall level. General discouragement implies that the discipline ought to keep others from carrying out criminal acts. The discipline fills in as an illustration to the remainder of society, and it advises others that criminal conduct will be rebuffed. Explicit discouragement implies that the discipline ought to keep similar individual from perpetrating violations. Explicit prevention works in two different ways. Initially, a guilty party might be placed in prison or jail to truly keep her from perpetrating another wrongdoing for a predefined period. Secondly, this crippling is intended to be undesirable to such an extent that it will demoralize the guilty party from rehashing her criminal conduct.

Does Utilitarian Theory Support Death Penalty:

The apparent seriousness of capital punishment, there has been an exceptional debate encompassing the issue. Rivals of capital punishment pronounce that it is savage and harsh thus the administration ought to get rid of it. Then again, its allies keep up that capital punishment is a fundamental type of discipline that ought to be utilized on the most horrible guilty parties in the public eye. The exceptionally captivated discussion on capital punishment has kept on existing for quite a long time. Moral hypotheses can be utilized to concoct an answer for this exceptionally dubious issue. Morals figure out what is the correct strategy in a given circumstance. Various strong moral hypotheses have been proposed by researchers and scholars throughout the long term. This paper will utilize one of the most broadly applied moral hypotheses, which is utilitarianism, to exhibit that capital punishment is for sure legitimized. 

Review of the Utilitarian Theory:

From a utilitarian viewpoint, activities that advance the satisfaction of the larger part in the public arena ought to be sought after while those that prevent this bliss ought to be evaded. The utilitarian hypothesis can be applied to the issue of the death penalty since this type of discipline produces both positive and negative results. 

Net Benefits:

The principal significant advantage offered by capital punishment is that it assumes a huge discouragement job. The most significant objective of the criminal equity framework is to debilitate individuals from taking part in wrongdoing. 

This is accomplished by joining disciplines to violations with the goal that an individual sees the benefits of taking part in unlawful activities as being exceeded by the results. In that capacity, an ideal society would be one where nobody is rebuffed since the danger of discipline shields everybody from taking part in wrongdoing. Capital punishment is the most extreme discipline and its accessibility is probably going to dissuade individuals who probably won’t be frightened by long jail sentences. 

From a utilitarian point of view, the prevention job is moral since it adds to the general satisfaction of the general public. At the point when crooks are deflected from participating in wrongdoing, the general public is more secure and individuals appreciate the harmony and security in their networks. 

Another huge advantage offered by capital punishment to the general public is that it prompts the perpetual debilitation of the indicted individual. Not at all like different types of discipline which just confine a portion of the opportunities of the guilty party, capital punishment removes his life.


Thus, we saw the different Theories of Punishments in detail. We understood what are the guiding principles behind them, how are they different from one another and some very important Case Laws pertaining to the same. However, we need to understand very clearly that punishment is something which should be inflicted very carefully. As the famous saying goes that ‘Let go of a hundred guilty, rather to punish an innocent’, we need to understand that inflicting a punishment upon someone changes his mental, physical and social status drastically. It has a very grave impact upon him and his being. Thus, while administering criminal justice, utter carefulness has to be executed, or else the very principles of justice would go for a toss.

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