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In Criminal Law, Punishment is defined as any pain, penalty, suffering, or confinement inflicted upon a person by the authority of the law and the judgment and sentence of a court, for some crime or offense committed by him, or for his omission of a duty enjoined by law.
"Law can never be enforced unless fear supports them", said Sophocles. Punishment is one of the most common forms of inculcating fear.
Need for Punishment
In ancient civilization, people fought with each other for food, procreation and for existance. This lead to 'private vengence' amongst them. This 'private vengence' is replaced by the civilized society with the administration of criminal justice. A criminal force that lead to the injury of an individual is treated as an injury to the society. Hence the State has set up two paths for handling the wrong doers.
- The Police System
- The Court System
Though the Court System is part of the State, in the interest of Principles of Natural Justice, the Judiciary is always kept separate so as to be not influenced by the State.
Punishing the wrong doer is an essential duty of the State. The scope and extent of this punishment differs from one country to another depending on the acceptable norms and customs prevelant in that part of the State.
For example, prostitution is not a punishable offense in some western countries while in Arab countries, it can lead to death by throwing stones. Similarly, homo-sex and lesbians are allowed in Switzeland and Denmark while other countries has legislated disallowing and punishing them.
Broadly speaking, Pushiment is necessary for the following reasons:
- Fear of punishment
From the Acts