Crime and Punishment

Crime and Punishment
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Corruption is all pervasive in our society. But, in general, the definition of corruption that we employ is too narrow and restrictive. In quotidian life, it is believed and held that corruption merely means bribe taking, that is, demanding and accepting monies for a favor. But, this definition or understanding excludes other forms of corruption that perhaps most of us are implicated in. This would include cheating, unfair business and trade practices, land grabbing, dowry demands, nepotism, and even gratuitously rude behavior to fellow human beings and so on. If there accrues a general consensus on this definition and form(s) of corruption, then much evil can be rooted out from society. But, this may constitute impractical idealism; what lurks over society, at large, is the context and structural conditions that incentivize corruption. It is these contextual conditions that must be addressed and a fresh beginning be made. Having said this, till society, as a hole realizes the evil that inheres in corruption, we might accept the stark reality that corruption, in whatever form, will not just merely disappear. Now, given this prosaic reality, what can be done to, in the least, deter this evil? Deterrent punishment is the obvious answer but this must be proportionate to the nature and intensity of the crime. In a case of corruption that came to light a few years ago, involving the BOPEE, the prime and main accused has been sentenced to sixteen years of imprisonment. On the face of, while it is not clear what was going on in the mind of the judge who pronounced the sentence, the stringent and long punishment appears to be disproportionate. And, while the man charged of the crime, has the option of appeal, it still is harsh. In the final analysis, punishment is in the nature of a deterrent, to both prevent crimes and for the good of society as a whole. But still, a sense of proportion and a grounded perspective must be formed while judging the particular merits or demerits of a case. All this is not to favor the man accused and charged of corruption, but to help gain this very sense of proportion in the delivery and dispensation of justice. Moreover, the problem or evil of corruption is to pervasive in society, that deterrent punishments even of a larger magnitude might not stymie this evil. The initiative and locus for the evisceration of this evil must emanate from the well springs of society; not merely the law.