Rahul deewan

Last updated September 12, 2021


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The Act is a landmark in advancing the new liberal reform movement in the penology field. It is the result of the recognition of the doctrine that criminal law is more about reforming the individual offender than about punishing. Probation has its influence from the juvenile justice system of “positivism” which has its development from the ideologies of the criminal justice system. The origin of probation was traced in the early practices of the English law and experienced development in the 19th century. However, the development of probation began in the early twentieth century, when various countries like Europe and North American began to initialize methods to reduce the consequence of severe punishments. Imprisonment became the most common mode of penal sanction.

From early 1800 to the present date, probation has tried to reform, remake, remould the offenders into honest, good and law-abiding citizens. In India, the main legal articulation to the reformatory framework for the probation theory is found in procedural code. Later the Children Act, 1908 additionally enabled the court to discharge certain guilty parties waiting on probation because of their good conduct. The extent of arrangements of probation law was expanded further by the enactment in 1923 resulting in the Indian Jails Committees Report (1919-1920). In 1931 the Government of India arranged a Draft Probation of Wrongdoers Bill and flowed it to the then Provincial governments for their perspectives.

A Bill on Probation of Offenders was introduced in Lok Sabha on November 18, 1957. A Joint Committee was formed to consider the Bill allowing for the release of prisoners on probation or after proper admonition and related matters. On 25 February 1958, the Joint Committee delivered its report to Lok Sabha. In Parliament, the Probation of Offenders Act was adopted on the advice of the Joint Committee. Probation in India is used as an institutional method of treatment. The western does not allow the use of institutional methods for probation. They administer probation by voluntary organisations of sociologists and psychologists. They consider that the judges should not interfere with this.

The Indian system says that the judiciary should solely vest in the probationary laws. This is so because the power of probation will be vested upon the voluntary and extrajudicial agencies which lack judicial methods and techniques. This would create a serious problem as these organisations will have their own values and considerations. Sociologists and psychologists will be concerned only upon the reformations of the offender and not the legal implication of the reformative measure. Probation is subjected to judicial review under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution which will eventually allow the judges to bring it under judicial scrutiny.


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