CONCEPTIONS OF CRIME

The purposeful performance of an act that is normally judged socially damaging or

hazardous that is specifically defined, forbidden, and punished under criminal law is

referred to as a crime.

Criminal behaviour is defined by the laws of certain jurisdictions, and there are

sometimes significant variances in what forms of behaviour are forbidden between

and even within countries. What is legal in one country or jurisdiction may be illegal

in another, and what is considered a minor infringement in one jurisdiction may be a

terrible felony in another. Changing times and social attitudes may lead to changes in

criminal legislation, allowing formerly illegal behaviour to become legal. Abortion,

which was historically illegal unless in the most rare situations, is now legal in many

nations, as is gay behaviour between consenting adults in most Western countries,

though it is still illegal in some areas of the world.



Usually, determining what constitutes a crime necessitates a review of the relevant

elements of the criminal code or statutory legislation (a few offences in English law

have not been defined in statute). Despite variances in form and detail, there are a few

broad principles of criminal law that apply across all criminal justice systems.


Rule of Retrospective:

The rule against retroactivity, which prevents the adoption of ex post facto laws, is a

commonly acknowledged principle in criminal law (i.e., laws that would allow an

individual to be punished for conduct that was not criminal at the time it was carried

out). Judges' authority to declare new offences is limited under the regulation (though

not necessarily to expand the scope of old ones by interpretation).



Intention:

One of the most essential general principles of criminal law is that a person cannot be

convicted of a crime unless they meant to conduct the offence. With limited

exceptions, the individual does not need to be aware that the act is illegal, as

ignorance of the law is no excuse for criminal conduct. As a result, if a person

believes that an act is fully legal and executes it intentionally, the legal condition of

criminal intent is satisfied.

Many more exceptions and qualifiers apply to the principle of criminal intent. It is

fully abandoned or authorized just a limited scope for a small number of actions,

known as strict responsibility offences. Employers, for example, may be held liable if

their employees are injured on the job, regardless of how carefully they followed

safety precautions, and manufacturers, too, may be held liable for injuries caused by

defective products, even if they showed no fault or negligence in the manufacturing

process. 1



Criminal Responsibility:

Criminal culpability extends not just to people who commit crimes, but also to those

who encourage or knowingly assist a perpetrator in committing a crime (e.g., by

providing information, implements, or practical help). Those who actually carry out

the criminal act (e.g., wielding the weapon that delivers the fatal blow) are known as

principals in the first degree; those who assist during the commission of the offence

(e.g., holding the victim down while the principal in the first degree delivers the fatal

blow) are known as principals in the second degree; and those who assist before the

crime takes place (e.g., lending the weapon or providing information) are known as

accessories before the fact.



Difference between Crime and Wrong ( Tort ):

Crime:

Without a doubt, crime is nothing more than wrongdoing. In this situation, though, the influence is on society as a whole. Under the state legal system, there are some exceptional instances or acts that are illegal. If a person does any of the acts, the law will make the proper punishment decisions in court.

In particular, the case is heard in a criminal court of law. Crimes against the law have already been defined for the sake of society's protection. Furthermore, it maintains peace by ensuring that everyone has the right to live in a crime-free community.



Crime is illegal for the following reasons:

To begin with, criminality violates society's existing laws.

Second, crime has an impact on the standard of living of law-abiding persons who want to live in peace.

Finally, a crime is an intentional act that violates a person's fundamental rights.


Tort:

Tort, unlike a crime, involves doing something wrong that causes specific parties to suffer. A tort occurs when negligence causes direct harm to a person or his or her property. Torts come in a variety of forms, but they all result in harm to a private person or property.

The most common cause of tort is negligence. When someone is wounded inadvertently, the affected party has the right to sue the defendant. When a private party is hurt as a result of a faulty product, a strict liability tort arises. 2



Remedy for Tort and Crime:

The remedy in tort law is compensation in the form of unliquidated damages, which are awarded to the plaintiff to restore him to his pre-damage condition and are paid by the wrongdoer who committed the harm. 3


The amount of compensation in the form of unliquidated damages is determined by the unique facts of each case, the unlawful loss, and the losses brought on by that person.


However, in criminal law, the guilty party receives punishment. In the best interest of society, the goal is to dissuade people from committing the act again. The type of the offence and the punishment specified in numerous laws and statutes determine the severity of the punishment.



However, this is not the case for criminal acts; one cannot waive his right and the person will be punished regardless of whether one wants to sue or not for the best interest of society and is prosecuted by the state. Another important point is that one can mitigate his right to go to court in case of breach of right under torts law or waive his right for compensation. 4


[1] Antony Nicolas Allot, Law, Crime and Punishment, Britannica, ( Jun. 7, 2022, 9:05 PM),

https://www.britannica.com/topic/crime-law.

[2] Toppr, https://www.toppr.com/guides/legal-aptitude/indian-penal-code/difference-between-crime-and-tort/, (last

visited Jun. 7, 2022).

[3] Shubham Choudhary, Difference between Tort and Crime , Ipleaders, ( July. 10, 2022, 7:38 PM),

https://blog.ipleaders.in/difference-between-torts-and-crime/.

[4] Shubham Choudhary, Difference between Tort and Crime , Ipleaders, ( July. 10, 2022, 7:38 PM),

https://blog.ipleaders.in/difference-between-torts-and-crime/.



This article is written by Roma Bennur of St. Joseph's College of Law, Bangalore.

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