Report No. 29
43. Multiplication of offences.-Recent years have witnessed a growth in the volume of criminal law and the intensive multiplication of offences. Some of the offences with which we are concerned seem to belong to a class which cannot be equated with the class of offences dealt with in the Indian Penal Code. This is an aspect well worth elaboration. We quote the following passage from the Encyclopaedia of Social Sciences1:-
"Treason, murder, certain sexual offences and some serious offences against property are fairly constant in the criminal laws of the world, with relatively similar definitions.
.................In addition to these offences, however, the increasing complexity of social life has led to the creation by the State of a vast number of laws which strike at forms of conduct peculiar to some particular type of social organisation. Roscoe Pound, in his Criminal Justice in America, has found in analysing the criminal laws of Rhode Island that the Revised Public Laws of 1882 defined 50 crimes, while the title of "Crimes and Punishment" of the general laws of 1923 defined 212. More than half of the offences that may be prosecuted by the State and punished by fine and imprisonment or both are contained in special laws passed since 1872, dealing with such problems as the protection of workers, the regulation of motor vehicle traffic, the regulation of selling of securities and of merchandise and the enforcement of liquor prohibition laws...."
'Only the most serious offences against the law cause a stigma to be attached to the offender. Were it otherwise, the psychic burden of criminality carried by the average community todayshould be immense, for the multipl?cation of legal prohibitions has made it difficult for any one of its members to lead a completely law abiding life.'
1. Encyclopaedia Social Sciences September, 1953 Reprint, Vol 4, pp. 564 to 566.