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Fear of punishment prevents crime
MAULANA WAHIDUDDIN KHAN  27th Jun 2015

"The business of legislature," writes Bertrand Russell "is to produce harmony between public and private interests. It is to the interest of the public that I should abstain from theft, but it is not to my interest except where there is an effective criminal law. Thus the criminal law is a method of making the interests of the individual coincide with those of the community" (The History of Western Philosophy, pp. 741-42).

Fear of punishment alone can prevent man from committing crime. The study of human society reveals the fact that wherever there is no fear of punishment, there is no means to prevent man from committing crimes. That is why laws to punish criminals have been formulated everywhere.

A study of different communities shows that not only can man be restrained from committing crime without an effective criminal law, but that he also manages, somehow or the other to find an escape from the laws and saves himself from being punished for the offence. Man's brains, wealth and resources often come to his rescue.

This state of affairs calls for more effective and far-reaching laws than purely human constraints, which have succeeded only partially in the prevention of crime. Man can never abstain from it unless he is sure of being brought before a court the judgement of which is ineluctable. This is the law of God. A true sense of accountability before God renders one cautious to such an extreme degree that one begins to avoid crime under any circumstances. Manoeuvring an escape from the law of God is tantamount to adding insult to injury. Divine law thus serves not only as a preventive measure but also is insurance that one will not escape punishment if one has committed an offence.

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