This article has been written by Riya Kaushik , a student of Geeta Institute of Law.
Criminalization is the behavior of person who conducts a crime. It is also known as criminology and criminal behavior of a person. According to the definition of Lexico powered by Oxford Dictionary, “The action of turning someone into a criminal by making their activities illegal”. The purpose of criminalization is to take actions against public wrongs.
In the past few years, the legislation has made several changes in law, introducing definitions which are more elaborate in their form to define crime, one example of which is the definition of Rape, which has been broadened.
But Does it a Solution to Social Problems?
There are so many Penal Provisions which are made to criminalize the moral and public wrongs. A lot of amendments have been continuously made in these provisions, & also several additions are also made to make them more extensive. But with the expansion of criminal laws, the crime rate is also increasing.
The focus should also be given to this aspect that with the extension of criminalization the variety of crimes and their types are increasing. It’s good that we have several penal laws to punish the wrong doer but this is also a cruel reality that even the threat of punishment is not able to put a check on the expansion of criminalization among society.
We have several laws made on the public and moral wrongs, but are they sufficient. Many a law are not precise in nature, and several more which are only written in the acts but they are not implemented at the grassroot level.
There are several loopholes in the drafting of these laws which give advantage to the wrong doers to gain from that and save oneself from the penal proceedings. Such as Theft & Mischief, the interpretation of both these is different from a minute point, & the advantage of which is taken by the wrong doers.
If a proper definition of Mischief would be given containing all the aspects instead of making other several laws on minute differences; then there will be no chance of escaping from punishment and a check will be made on these activities by imposing threat of punishment.
The Excess of laws has led to a position of Over-Criminalization which is topic of discussion nowadays. India can’t afford more laws it is not able to handle the present number of laws. The number of judges to hear the cases are also very less. A lot of cases are still pending and many innocent people are living their life as Under Trial Prisoners, which is a great threat to the current justice system.
And at the same place, the social issues have also changed as they were a while ago when these laws were made. Several amendments needed to me made in theses with strict liability to put a check on their increment. The actions should be taken strictly upon those who become a hindrance in the implementation of these laws. The enquiry should be made before the conduction of crime to check the criminalization pace in the society.
It is true that many amendments have been made from a past few years in the laws, but there are still some provisions which are more essential & are still in the waiting list to think about.
These issues include big social problems like illiteracy, poverty, religious conflicts, juvenile delinquency, unemployment, racism, terrorism etc. these issues are always a topic of great discussion and several debates are also made on these issues but there is no strict provision made on them.
The Criminalization is also affected by political factors. The political parties influence people to indulge in unfair practices and to promote riots among the country, to fulfill their own selfish interest.
Criminalization should be chosen as last resort. As mahatma Gandhi well said, “Punish the crime, not the criminals.” Mere punishing the criminals would not be a solution to the problem of emerging criminal activities. Focus should be given as ton how to stop emergence of criminal thinking among the people. The Psychology of the criminal minded people needed to be understood and steps should be taken to remove the reasons which led to the occurrence of criminal thing and behavior among the people.
The government has made many amendments in the laws related to women, such as definition of Rape is expanded, Triple Talaaq is abolished. But is this a solution to all the problems?
For Instance, Triple Talaaq has been declared unconstitutional by the apex court but there are several other forms of Talaaq which are being misused under Muslim law. Just because the voice is raised against the Triple Talaaq, does it give solution to all the problems? The criminalization is done only on those activities which are declared as public and moral wrongs; what about those wrongful activities against whom voice is not raised and are still prevailing in the society.
There are several other wrongful activities which are not considered as crime even such as Marital rape. And for those provisions are made or amended are still been wrongfully used.
Even after declaration of Triple Talaaq being invalid, still its pronouncement is made. The reason behind is that there are many illiterate people who are not aware of their rights and a few take the advantage of the loopholes of the justice system. They know that even if they pronounce Triple Talaaq, it would not make a big deal as the case will go to court and it will stay pending like several other cases, & they can live their life freely up till the decision is taken, which takes many years to come.
The most Important factor which is needed to be introduced is ton, make the laws gender neutral. There are many laws which can only be used by women to claim their right for justice but the men on the same glance are not given any right under the laws. And because of this, many a times women misuse their right against men, which is a big reason of criminalization.
There are several penal provisions in our legislation but the situation is still the same and the crime rate is also increasing day by day. This concludes that mere punishing the criminals would not result as a threat to stop it. The criminals are needed to be reform.
The Reformative theory should be adopted instead of Punitive Theory. Education should be provided to all to aware them about their rights and even the criminals needed to be educated to reform them. They should be reformed into a better person.
Our education system should also include subjects like moral values to teach the young generation what is wrong and what is right.
The other social issues such as poverty, un-education, unemployment, poor livelihood etc.; should also be given importance & should also be tried to resolve them, as they are the main reason of Criminalization.
To Conclude, we can say that there is no point of making several laws on criminalization if they are not able to put a check on the increasing pace of crime. Instead of making several laws, the laws should be decreased in counting and their definition should be made more precise and accurate in their implementation so as not to give any chance to the wrong doers to escape and to gain advantages from its loopholes. The excess of laws would only lead to over criminalization only. The laws should be made strict and should also be revised. It should be the duty of every citizen to abide by them and the government should review their implementation.
Reforms should be made in the criminal Justice system.The social Problems will never be fully solved by criminalization, until and unless the socials issues which leads to the criminal intent among the people are solved.