The Need for discipline and punishment

Man is a social animal. Apparently, fear of wild animals compoelled the early man to live in groups. Living in society was not without a price. Man could not enjoy complete liberty like birds and animals. Adherence to common good of the human society needed a code of conduct for all to follow. Adherence to rules framed for common good of all is called discipline. The good citizens follow rules voluntarily. Punishment is unavoidable when the irresponsible and arrigant members of society do not care to abide by socially accepted norms or rules. No society, organization, institution or nation can live without enforcing discipline. Punishment cannot be wished away because it is unrealistic to assume that everyone is wise and responsible enough to voluntarily abide by law.   

Enforcement of dicipline
The smooth functioning of human society dependfs on adherence to law. Every responsible citizen is expected to adhere to law in common interest. But there are many arrogant and irresponsible individuals who need Some sort of correction. The mode of correcting the erring individuals is punishment. Discipline was enforced by the king or the officials and judges appointed by him. Inabsence of written code, the king's word was law. At village level, the local headmen enforced discipline. Religion has also played a part in discipline. The crimes like theft, rape, adultery were considered sins. The conceptof hell for wrong doers or sinners is nothing butpunishment concept. The religious believers and god fearing were  afraid of punishment in after life place called hell and so they refrained from committingsins or crimes. The procedure  of atonement (prayashchit),fasting, confession and self fleggation are religious punishments.  

Forms of punishment
Punishment involves deprivation from some benefit or inflicting of pain. The punishment may thus consist of monetary loss, deprivation of freedom or inflicting of physical pain. The offences committed are subject to judicial procedure. The punishment may be imprisonment or fine.Flogging is abolished in most places. Still flogging and amputation of limbs is accepted form of punishment in Saudi Arabia. In Malayasia and singapore, caning is the accepoted mode of punishment.

Punishmentis inescapable
A perfect society consists of responsible citizens, who care for social norms and rights as well as duties. There should be no scope of punishment in such societies. However, it is inconceivable that nobody ever deviates knowingly or unknowingly from accepted norms. Now the trend is toward liberalism. The citizens should be allowed maximum liberty and there should be no scope for punishment except where one causes undue harm to others. Theft, robbery, rape and causing undue harassment to others are definitely punishable.

Punishment is for correction and not revenge

The aim of punishment should be correction. Punishment is to crime as medicine is to disease. The aim is correction rather than revenge. In primitive society, punishment was Tit for tat. Eye for eye was the law. This is barbaric. Secondly, punishment should be same for same crime irrespective of considerations of caste or status. In ancient Hindu law called manusmriti, there was provision for more strict punishmentfor lower castes. It is astonishing that even now the extra constitutional authorities like caste panchayats carry out barbaric punishments. The Panchayats in Western Uttar Pradesh have even carried out death punishment for crime of marriage against social norms. In Frontier province of Pakistan, rape is punished by gang rape on the mother or sister of the alleged criminal. Such sort of punishments are blot on civilized society. The attempt should be to bring the alleged criminal to the main stream and help him to be an ideal citizen. Hence, undergoing punishment should not be a stigma. A criminal is a criminal only till he is not punished. After suffering punishment, he must be considered as respectable as others. Needless to say, amputation of limbs is not correction as the punished person is disabled even from doing useful things.

Barbaric punishments should be abolished

In India, the punishment is by imprisonment- simple or rigorous and fine. Death penalty is awarded in case of treason and murder in rares of rare cases depending on circumstances and mode of murder. As capital punishment is very rare, the indian punitive system is civilized and modern.

Caning or flogging needs introduction
Death penalty is still on statute though in rares of the rarest. Flogging is not more barbaric than capital punishment. There is no reason why flogging or caning not be introduced. The present system of imprisonment and fine is not effective. The rich  white collared economic offenders and other influential do not care for fines. They are rich enough and easily bear the burden of fine. They also stay comfortably in jails thanks to money power. Caning can be effective deterant. Unless some pain is caused to body, punishment is not felt and so no useful result.  Caning does not cause permanent injury or disablement aning is not more barbaric than imprisonment. Every sentence of imprisonment should include caning. The crimes like food adulteration, corruption, robbery definitely need flogging as deterrant and effective punishment.

Need for legal reforms
Indian law is very cumbersome and too complicated to understand. It involves undue burden onjudiciary. It is suggested that all acts and regulations affecting individual behaviour that does not harm others be abolished. We do need either law or punishment for gamblers, drunkards, gay and lesbians. The number of punishable crimes must be small. Only heinous acts and those causing undue mental or physical injury should be punishable. Caning should be introduced.

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