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Report No. 84

1.5. Role of the criminal law.-

It is elementary that the criminal law is the chief legal instrument for preventing anti-social acts of a serious character. This object is sought to be achieved, in the first instance, by the legislative command embodying that aspect of punishment which is called "general deterrence". Once a crime-whether sexual or of any other category-has been committed, this aspect is, at least for the lime being, exhausted in regard to that particular criminal act. The fact that the particular crime has been committed shows that the object of deterrence has failed to prevent the particular criminal act.

However, one can still expect of the legal system that it should make reasonable provisions to ensure that the criminal act already committed is dealt with adequately-consistently, of course, with the general norms of the judicial process, so that the legislative command is enforced, the object of deterrence is realised and (if the accused is found guilty) the punishment to be imposed is such as to deter others also-thus bringing the aspect of "general deterrence" again in play. In this field, thus, the main objective of legal reform would be to promote justice after the offence is committed. It is in this background that reforms in the law have been considered in this Report.



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