winds of change-part III-Domestic strategy-ch 31-2

It is only through such detailed analysis of social, economic and political conditions obtaining in a society and the psychological reflexes of the people that we can hope to succeed in effectively dealing with the problem. After all the object of the criminal law is not merely punishment of the law­breaker; the prevention of unlawful behaviour is an equally important function which has to be integrated in the working of our legal system.

Another development which calls for urgent attention concerns the mass element in present day criminal behaviour. So far, the criminal law has interested itself with the individual without reference to his psycho-sociological reactions as a consequence of his being a member of a group with objectives which sometimes run counter to other groups or wider interests of the community. We are confronted today not only with individual crimes which are increasing in intensity and number, but also the mass out­breaks of violence, organised criminal activities, and anti-social behaviour of groups. The study of an individual in society and his relations with other individuals is therefore as indispensable to the law as the study of individual in isolation. It is for this reason that changes in the structure of society require constant review so that corresponding changes in the criminal law can effected.

Sweeping changes have taken place in the country during the past three or four decades. The advent of Gandhiji on the political scene of the country in the twenties and the crusade for social reform carried on by renowned reformers like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Agarkar. Gandhiji and others, the attainment of in­dependence and the beginning of a technological and agricultural revolution in the country have brought about fundamental changes in our social attitudes. Social institutions of a tradition-bound society have no relevance to the modern times. The standard and conception of social morality are undergoing a rapid change the world over. Obviously, we cannot hope to be left untouched by these sweeping changes. It is time that we examine how far our legal framework is in tune with and responsive to these very basic changes.