Punishments in Primitive Soceity

Topics: Death Penalty, Crime, Prison Pages: 3 (862 words) Published: February 19, 2013


The most usual criteria for punishment in primitive societies is the principle of "Eye for an eye". According to this principle if a person has taken the eye of another the chief orders that the eye of the criminal should be taken.Blood for blood is the ancient principle of retribution in primitive societies. Thus punishment is based on retributive principle. This is so since most of the tribal people believe that crime is a violation of divine system or rules. Hence it is believed that the criminal is evil and should be given suitable punishment so that he may become free from evil.The evil souls must be punished. Besides retribution, another basis for punishment is compensation of the loss. Punishment in the form of fine is usually based on this principle. A fine is imposed since it compensates the loss.But the most important principle in the primitive system of punishment is the principle of collective responsibility.According to this principle punishment is not necessarily awarded to the individual who has committed the crime but his family, clan and local group may also be punished. For example, punishment of death is given for a murder, but this punishment may not be awarded to him who has murdered.In his place some other member of his family, group or clan may be killed since the group is collectively responsible for the criminal act of each member.


It is a part of natural and supernatural principles.
It is based on kinship types.
It is originated from the moral and ethical notions and public opinion. In primitive law there is no difference between civil law and criminal law. Primitive law doesn't distinguishes between crimes and torts, public and private issues. It gives importance to sin and supernatural punishments.

In here kinship group looks after law, therefore, there is collective responsibility for protecting the law.

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