Lacunae in Criminal Law

Lacunae in Criminal Law

This Essay is submitted by –

  • Harmanjot Kaur Kang, First Year Sem-2 law student, MOHINDRA COLLEGE, PATIALA.

Remember things are not so bad as we think they are bad. Thorns and flowers are on the same plant.[i]

Whether it’s a crime scene, or a rape case or a forgery of the documents; criminal law is imbibing in our daily activities similar to a daily routine, which is inescapable. Each day the newspapers are flooded with the number of incidents where there are instances of robbery, theft, dacoity, or voyeurism. The Bollywood-Hollywood movies are made with the inspiration taken from these day-to-day crime scenes. Irrespective of nature, crime is such a preordained part that no one can spurt out. 

There are lots of reasons that lead to this destructive behavior. Social, cultural, religious, language, economic disparities are the pioneers among them. Man is a social animal but everywhere he is in chains.[ii] We can see the instances in Shakespeare’s writings mulled upon life as divided into three parts: comedy, tragedy, and history. With the gush of the American Revolution and the French Revolution, slowly every nation started progressing to the modernization and use of deep learning and Artificial Intelligence. But are there blessings or boon involved with this? Is there a change in human behavior from the past to the present world, if so, who can be responsible?

History and background

We can observe the use of criminal law to punish people even during the times of Mughals, Britishers, or the Maurya. All of them used to standardize the death sentence, transportation for life, imprisonment for life as the punishments during that period. The crimes during that era include murder, dacoity, theft, lurking, etc. There was no technology or online presence at that time. People were less developed and so was the way they think. Due to strict laws, people feared death and thereafter were very cautious before committing a crime.

Today’s phrase

Today, we can observe life getting more and more complicated than our forefathers. Whether it is shrewdness, accuracy, perception, or insight. Today, science has many admissions to new forms and technologies. We encounter new gadgets every day.

Previously, there were simpler needs than today. It includes food, clothing, and shelter. People were naïve and believed in superstitions and divine forces feared nature and its phenomenon such as earthquakes, typhoons, cyclones, etc. With the advancement of technologies in the field of science, people encountered difficulties maintaining decorum. This unleashed a power struggle of ‘haves’ and ‘have – nots’, ‘rich’ and ‘poor’, ‘capitalists’, and ‘bourgeoises’. Greed, jealousy, competition, lust, power-struggle, conflict dawned over them. The 19th-20th century flooded the world with clout, where there was a smack of tugs – of – the war for more and more land, area, money, etc.

 Reasons for committing a Crime

There are various theories proposed with relation to this. This includes the ‘rational choice theory’, ‘the theory of social disintegration’, ‘stress theory’, ‘social learning theory’, and ‘social control theory’.[iii]

There is a deviation because of the theories listed below:

Peer groups: Teenage is a tender age of change and development. This can be the most productive phrase as well as the destructive one if not grounded by due-diligence. Due to certain heart-breaks, family issues, poor academics, low self-esteem, bullying, and ragging; the peer groups tend to influence how one thinks and acts upon in a certain situation. 

Poverty: There are times when similar to ‘The Bishops Candlesticks’, the people struggle to get enough food shelter and clothing. They are not able to meet their requirements, which leads to criminal behavior.

Mental illness: People with mental illness, depression, anxiety, trauma tend to engage in criminal activities more often.

Modern Era

Today, with the use of technology and advancement there are modern ways to commit crimes. Today in the digital era, there is the use of science and technology to commit such crimes. Forgery, Bit-coins, cryptocurrency, frauds, and scams are the strings that bind together to form tomorrow’s history.

In the era of social media and cinema, today we can see that the movie industry makes most of the movies based on landmark case laws, crime scenes, murder, rapes, etc. The youth today is not vigilant as to which information he should let go and grasp. There is a situation of information overflow, which is through Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, movies, and luscious songs. Due to the large fan following and the influence on the people, youth becomes blinded by the person’s flaws, shortcomings, and starts following their style to show their superiority and boost self-esteem.

Key Questions

No one can live in isolation and neither does a human being, because of his natural traits. We all are dependent on one another like any other species on the planet. There are times when one cannot distinguish between the friends and the foes, the savior, and the fiend. There are social, cultural, economic, personal reasons attached to the behavior.

No one lives in isolation, and so are the sciences. The biggest lacuna of Criminal Law or any other law is the fact that we think that one can understand the subject, master it, and is ready to go. But the fact is all the subjects are co-related, there is sociology everywhere as we are social creatures, science has upgraded the technology, mathematics helped us calculate time and speed while launching rockets, psychology helps to understand the mental state of the individual, biology has the DNA testing which has helped to solve complex crime scenes, etc.

  • Which patient becomes an offender?
  • Which offender becomes a patient?
  • What came first, the crime or the mental disorder?
  • Is a mental disorder present now?
  • Was it present during the time of the crime?
  • What is the level of responsibility of the offender for the crime?
  • What is the risk of reoffending and which risk factors are involved?
  • Is treatment possible to reduce the risk of reoffending?[iv]

These questions are a mixture of science, law, psychology, politics, sociology, statistics, and data analysis. It is unruffling to say, “I am a scholar in Criminal Law or Constitutional Law is my favorite, but similar to human nature, a science or a subject, like any other can’t be learned and understood in isolation.” Everything we do, study, and learn is interlinked and this fact is inevitable. 


The following are the statistics of the crimes that take place all over the world.


By the report of Numbeo[v], it has been recorded that Venezuela has a crime rate index of 84.49. Here India ranks 68th in the list with a score of 43.32. This is quite humiliating as we are known for our rich culture, diversity, unity, and integrity. Qatar is ranked 129th with a score of 11.86.

Singapore[vi] is ranked as the safest and the nation with the least crime rate followed by Luxemburg, Japan, Iceland, and Denmark. The tiny city of Tokyo is named as the safest city in the world.


It is disgust that we are a nation that considers women as goddesses and worship them, but on the flip side India’s capital i.e. Delhi, itself is the most unsafe place for women followed by Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, and Kolkata.

Author’s Opinion

There is truly said by Francis Beacon: “Some books should be tasted, some devoured, but only a few should be chewed and digested thoroughly.”[viii] There is a need for critical thinking and refining the trash that we encounter every day. We need to stop the information overflow by limiting the sources and choices to the maximum of five options. Teenage can be the most crucial period of life if utilized properly. Reading, writing, analyzing, channeling the energy into something productive is the need of the hour. Parents and mentors should guide the children to choose the path carefully. As it is truly said: “The media has made our nation curious for the drama. This nation does not have fun until everything is played.”[ix]


Looking into the laws and the statistics, it can be concluded that there are many lacunae in Criminal Law. There is no room for the confession of truth in a plea bargain, only minimal efforts similar to the signature on a blank cheque can be observed. The Articles of the Constitution are often ignored, i.e. in case of Joginder Nath v. State of Uttar Pradesh[x], where the arrested person was innocent but still kept in the custody for more than 24 hours, challenging Article 14, 20, 21 of the constitution read with Section 340 of IPC and 57 of Code of Criminal Procedure.

Every year we can observe rape cases, such as the Nirbhaya case[xi], Kathua Gang Rape Case[xii], Kerala Bishop Franco Mulakkal[xiii], Sitapur Rape case etc.[xiv]

Who is responsible? We or the government? The rules and regulations or the westernization? Flyers and posts on social media or the degradation of morale, culture, and traditions?

Rectitudinous left onto the readers!

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje


[i] ‘Quotes’ (The College Study) <> accessed 17 June 2020.

[ii] ‘Man Is Born Free, but Everywhere He Is In Chains Essay’ (The College Study, 7 June 2019) <> accessed 17 June 2020.

[iii] ‘Psychology of Crimes | Why Do People Commit Crimes?’ (Cambridge Alert, 8 May 2019) <> accessed 17 June 2020.

[iv] ‘Criminal Psychology’, Wikipedia (2020) <> accessed 17 June 2020.

[v] ‘Crime Index by Country 2020’ <> accessed 17 June 2020.

[vi] ‘Singapore’, Wikipedia (2020) <> accessed 17 June 2020.

[vii] ‘The 5 Most Unsafe Indian Cities for Women’ <> accessed 17 June 2020.

[viii] ‘A Quote by Francis Bacon’ <> accessed 17 June 2020.

[ix] ‘Quotes’ (n 1).

[x] Joginder Nath v State of Uttar Pradesh 1994 AIR 1349, 1994 SCC (4) 260 1994 AIR 1349.

[xi] ‘What Is Nirbhaya Case? | What Is Nirbhaya Case Full Story? | India News – Times of India’ (The Times of India) <> accessed 17 June 2020.

[xii] ‘Kathua Rape Case’, Wikipedia (2020) <> accessed 17 June 2020.

[xiii] ‘Franco Mulakkal’, Wikipedia (2020) <> accessed 17 June 2020.

[xiv] ‘6 Horrendous Rape Cases In 2018 So Far Show That Minors Are Biggest Victims of Sexual Assaults’ (India Times, 21 April 2018) <> accessed 17 June 2020.

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