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Author: Shefali Chitkara

Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies, Delhi

The main point of criminal law is to guarantee the privileges of the people and to guard the feeble against the solid, honest against uncivilized and noiseless against brutal.” [1]


The ultimate motive behind the introduction of criminology is the prevention of crime. Historically, criminology has played an important reforming role in relation to criminal law and the criminal justice system. It has produced various findings which have influenced judges, legislators, lawyers and other officials helping them to better understand crime and criminals, also to develop better human sentences and treatments for criminal behavior. India, in terms of culture and demography, is different from other countries on various levels. There is a greater need to look at the crime problem in India from the point of regional and local perspective. Crimes are mostly linked to poverty, social problems, governance, and nation’s policies which are very unique to every country. Hence, it must be realized that it is so crucial to adopt original and indigenous criminological approaches to assess Indian crime problems.[2] Similarly, criminal justice education is very important for making citizens aware of the crimes and their punishments as mentioned in Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and Indian Penal Code, 1860. It is important to know that in case of any infringement of right or any wrong done to anyone, justice is the remedy available to all.


The word ‘criminology’ has been taken from the Latin word ‘crimen’ that means accusation and Greek word ‘logia’ that means scientific study of the nature, extent, causes, and control of criminal behaviour in both individuals and society as a whole. According to Edwin Sutherland, “Criminology is the entire body of knowledge regarding crime as a social phenomenon. It includes within its scope the process of making laws i.e. criminal etiology, of breaking laws i.e. sociology of law and of reacting towards the breaking of the laws i.e. penology.” In short, it means the study of crimes, criminals, and victims. It also provides with the solutions for crimes and its prevention.[3]


There are three branches of criminology according to the definition of Edwin Sutherland:

1. Criminal Etiology tells the basic reasons for crime commission, the origin and cause of a crime.

2. Sociology of law, attempts to explain a scientific analysis of the condition which the criminal law has developed as a process of social control.

3. Penology, a branch of criminology that focuses on the prevention of crime and delinquency. [4]

Criminology has been described as a social science, as crime is a social phenomenon. It is also an applied science since it requires the application of various fields of study for creation of more responsive programs for crime prevention and for the solutions of crime in our society. Criminology is nationalistic as laws in different countries varies depending on the culture, belief, religion and others. It is dynamic as well as the concept of what crimes are also changed with the changing times. [5]

Criminal justice is defined as a system by which crimes and criminals are identified, apprehended, judged and punished. Criminal justice education aims at making people aware and educated with such concepts so that no wrong could happen with them.[6]


The beginning of criminology was different in India as compared to the way it was started in the western world. Criminology was introduced via philosophies of Aristotle and Plato in the western world and it focused on the role of government and the discrimination that has arisen due to power dynamics of the ruling class. It was also due to the public uprising against abuse of power by authority. In India, it was introduced in the mid-20th century because of the international experts’ voice in unison who recommended the need for promoting Criminological education in Asia. The idea for initiating courses of Criminology and Forensic Science in Indian Universities was also supported by National Conference of State DGs of police, IG and DGP of police at New Delhi in 1950. [6]

When American Criminologist, Professor Walter C. Reckless visited India in 1951, he recommended solutions to reform prisons and correctional services. He was invited by the Government of India for the concern raised by the then Prime Minister of India, Shri Jawahar Lal Nehru for improving conditions of prisons in India. This brought an important turning point in the development of Criminology in India. These prison reforms suggested by Reckless and Galaway were also exemplified in Indian Government’s Five-Year Plan. [7]


Criminology in India is in a state of avoidable neglect, despite tremendous potential and promises. Criminological education is not extensively available as there are less institutions that provide teaching, research or practice in criminology. Link between practice and profession is also obscure and unexplored in this field. It also lacked international focus and recognition. It is largely perceived as a discipline that has restricted avenues and limited mobility in career advancement in India. The criminologists have not been able to prescribe policies and program- oriented research findings as well. [8]


For more criminological researches, following areas must be considered as priorities:

1. Areas like organized crimes involving secondary victimization, restitution, restorative justice, radical criminology, action criminology, pragmatic criminology, impact of imprisonment, forensic psychology, fear of crime, crime mapping are in need of systematic research attention.

2. There should be strong implementation of existing laws for increasing people’s faith in laws. The present law is quite inadequate and what is more urgently required is an effective investigation, prosecution and speedy trial. There need is to change the societal mindset.

3. India should punish the criminals in a way which will prevent others from doing the same and will make him feel guilty for the wrong he has committed. With the increasing rate of crimes, there is a need to change the existing theory of punishment. [9]

4. It should also take into account the conditions of criminals going back in society. After due reformation, they should be allowed to gain back their original status i.e. they must be accepted by the society.

5. Teaching and research in criminology need to be made widely available in India.

6. There are certain crimes like dowry in which the perpetrator is the society itself. According to society only, it’s considered to be a ritual and not the crime. So, criminology must consider this and decide who should be brought to the trial and who should be punished. [10]


Criminal law in India aims to punish the guilty and build a society free from the clutches of evil. It is very essential to understand humans and the need for criminal law. Dostoyevsky said, “Man is a mystery. It needs to be unraveled and if you spend your whole life unraveling it, don’t say that you have wasted time. I am studying that mystery because I want to be a human being.”Similarly, today we fight for justice, maintain order, punish the criminal based on the history of criminal law. It could be possible that the field of criminology can move further through modern innovation and develop into a methodology that can aid the nation’s justice system at every front.


1.http://scientificresearchjournal.com/wp-content/plugins/download attachments/includes/download.php?id=4076.



4. https://www.slideshare.net/rsgrfn/adj-20163-criminology-lesson-1#:~:text=Three%20Divisions%20of%20Criminology%20Criminal,of%20formal%20and%20social%20control.

5. Ibid.




9. Ibid.

10. Ibid.

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