ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

PunishmentSubscribe to Punishment

Human Sacrifice, Sentencing and the Death Penalty

In the judicial discourse on the relationship between human sacrifice and punishment in criminal law, there are glaring errors. Looking closely at the Supreme Court’s judgment in Ishwari Lal Yadav v State of Chhattisgarh , the deviation from the principle of individualised sentencing and the consequences of ignoring evidence on the complex anthropological and psychological dimensions of human sacrifice are reflected upon.

Making the Punishment Fit the Crime

In the absence of clear and organised sentencing guidelines, contemporary penal policy in India is marred by unguided judicial discretion. While this may be a matter of independent inquiry, it is an inevitable consequence of flawed legislative prescriptions regarding sentences under criminal law. The arbitrariness in prescribing maximum sentences in criminal laws is an issue that has received inadequate attention.

Framed by Police

The Additional Sessions Judge, Virender Bhat acquitted Moinuddin Dar and six other Kashmiri men on 2 February this year with the judicial fi nding that the men had been framed by Delhi police personnel. The judge has directed that a first information report (FIR) be lodged against four policemen. The...

'City of Dreadful Night'

By cleansing the archival records of the cobwebs of biases and officialese which shroud their language and style, the modern historian can plumb to their depths the dark nooks and corners of the underworld of colonial Calcutta, and look at them from a fresh angle. It will raise a number of queries about colonial criminology - Who were the criminals in 19th century Calcutta? How were they made? What was the nature of their crimes? To what extent did they bring forth the colonial penal system, and in what measure did this newly organised system of detection, prosecution and punishment, in its turn, create new types of crime? This essay attempts to wrestle with these questions and suggests a few explanations while inviting responses from historians engaged in research in the field.

Torture in Colonial India

The impact of colonialism also evidenced itself in the attempts to establish a codified system of criminal law that differentiated and separated itself from the 'native' law that preceded it. Despite such attempts, native practices had their own uses in enforcing discipline as seen in the incidents that unfold in the 'Nassick Torture Case' and elaborated further in this paper. The paper also probes issues related to fear and suffering while also enunciating the social scientists' dilemma of needing to represent and reproduce violence without fetishising or merely re-enacting it.

Isolated Lives

Disciplining Punishment: Colonialism and Convict Society in the Andaman Islands by Satadru Sen; OUP, 2000; pp 283 + x, Rs 595.
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