What do you understand by ‘Civil’ and ‘Criminal’ justice? Why there is a need for administration of such justice? Discuss.


Q. 17(c). What do you understand by ‘Civil’ and ‘Criminal’ justice? Why there is a need for administration of such justice? Discuss.


What are different kinds of justice? What are advantages and disadvantages of administration of justice? Discuss.

Ans. ‘Civil’ and ‘Criminal’ Justice.—Broadly speaking, justice may be of two kinds—namely, civil and criminal. Blackstone preferred to call them private wrongs and public wrongs. The former are violations of civil or legal rights of individuals, called civil injuries, while the latter are in the nature of violation of public rights and duties which affect community as a whole and are called crime or misdemeanours. Thus a crime is a wrong against the community as a whole and is punishable by the State, the civil wrong, on the other hand, is an infringement of the legal right of individual which does not affect the society in general and is redressible by monetary compensation.

Again, from the point of view of procedure also civil justice differs from criminal justice. Apart from the fact that civil justice is administered in Civil Courts whereas criminal justice is administered in Criminal Courts, in the civil proceedings, the remedies are sought by the aggrieved parties while in case of crimes, the criminal proceedings are instituted by the State. In a civil case, the Judge is to decide whether civil rights of the plaintiff are affected or violated and if so, whether he is entitled to any relief, but in a criminal trial the Magistrate is to decide the guilt or otherwise of the accused on the basis of evidence before him. A civil case may result into award of compensation or dismissal of the case but a criminal trial may result in conviction or acquittal of the accused. Though punishment is the prime object of criminal proceedings but in certain cases the benefit of probation law may be allowed to the offender and he may be released on probation of good behaviour with or without conditions.

Writers have expressed divergent views about the object of civil and criminal justice. Some of them are of the view that tie object of civil proceedings is to enforce rights whereas the object of criminal proceedings is to punish the offender. But this is not necessarily true as in many cases, particularly in case of juveniles and the first offenders, they are merely admonished or released on probation rather than been sentenced. So also in case of disobedience of an injunction order of the Court, the person maybe sentenced to imprisonment although it is a civil proceeding.

Again, it is generally believed that crimes are more serious and harmful in their consequences as compared with the civil wrongs. While crimes affect the public at large, civil wrongs injure only the private individual. However, there are certain wrongs such as defamation, nuisance, conspiracy, deceit etc. which are both crimes as well as torts, in, civil wrongs.

It may thus be concluded that the difference between criminal justice and civil justice is not to be considered in terms of nature and consequence of the act but the legal implications which follow as a result of the act. Though the line of distinction between civil and criminal justice may be very thin and even overlapping at times, yet this distinction has a practical implication keeping in view the object, method of enforcement and impact on the individual and the society. The exceptions do not in anyway undermine the basic difference between civil and criminal justice. Because of enhancement in white collar crimes and economic crimes with the use of technical advancement new types of crimes are coming into existence just as cyber crimes, smart card crimes etc. which need special treatment in investigation, trial and punishment ignoring their over lapping nature of civil or criminal branch.

Need for administration of Justice:—

Administration of justice through courts of law has now become one of the important functions of the state. The courts administer justice according to laws framed by the legislature. The chief merits of administration of justice are its uniformity, certainty, impartiality and equality. The Judges who impart justice are bound to give their decisions according to the fixed principles of law and cannot act arbitrarily. The laws being mostly codified they are known to the citizens which enables them to regulate their conduct accordingly.

Codification also helps the Judges in applying the law uniformly without any fear or favour. Despite the aforesaid advantages, the administration of justice suffers from certain disadvantages also. The main of these disadvantages are rigidity, formality and complexity of laws. Sir Salmond has observed that law, undoubtedly, is a remedy for greater evil, but it brings with it evils of its own.

Be that as it may, it must be stated that the advantages of administration of justice far outweigh its disadvantages and it is an effective media for establishment of Rule of Law in modern democracies.

The procedural law in the administration of justice and enhancement in the number of cases pending in the courts because of explosion in population and their awareness regarding their rights has created a reoquent situation. To overcome arrears and to give justice to the people all possible measures should be adopted for quick justice. Reorganisation of courts, reduction in number of appeals in the same case, reduction in courts adjournments sought by lawyers and a time bound decision sys-tem may be introduced for the remedy of this malady.