A crime is generally an act of disobedience of law forbidding or commanding it. But, disobedience of all the laws may not be a crime i.e. disobedience of civil cases or contracts. Therefore, crime would mean something more than a mere disobedience of law. As per Stephen ‘it means an act which is both forbidden by law and revolting to the moral sentiments of the society.’ For instance robbery or murder would be a crime, because they are revolting to the moral sentiments of society. On the other hand disobedience of revenue laws or contracts would not constitute a crime as they do not affect the moral sentiment of our society.
All crimes have a general moral basis, condemned as wrong or bad and proscribed by the society. They are identified and regulated by the state. It is prosecuted by the state in its own name. A civil wrong is a private suit between individuals while a criminal wrong is a public matter. It is possible to file both criminal and civil charges at the same time, and the outcome of one proceeding generally may not be taken into consideration in the other proceeding.
Therefore, if disobedience of any law affects the moral sentiments of society at large then it would certainly be labeled as crime not a civil wrong and will be followed by criminal proceedings which may result in punishment.
Dear Avni, Human behaviour is the main element that helps to determine the gravity of an act. It is an evident fact that a same person can be charged under both criminal and civil wrongs for a same act, though for the various reasons. The main component that differentiates a crime from civil wrong is “Mens rea” which means guilty mind.If a person does something even after having the knowledge of the consequences of his act, he will be charged and punished by the law.As the Maxim“Actus non facit reum, nisi mens sit rea ” says an act does not make a person legally liable unless the mind is legally blameworthy', human behaviour play vital role in determining the nature of an offence. But it is not always necessary that a person should have criminal mind for it to be classified as an offence. If the act is of such that it could have been reasonably be foreseen that a certain kind of consequences will be followed, and the gravity of the crime is that, which resulted in grave harm to a person or a large number of people, it will fall under law of crimes. For instance -Sec. 304 (A) of Indian Penal Code which deals with criminal negligence. In most of the road accidental cases, the culprit is always charged with criminal negligence even if he did not have any intention to kill or harm anyone on road. His act of driving the car fast and negligently on road certifies his guilt. In such situations, law says that the behaviour of the person, who drives negligently, having the knowledge of foreseeable harm, should be held liable. Civil wrongs are always between the parties, and it always involves compensation matters. In civil cases, if one party is found wrong, it is forced to compensate other party in order to restore its previous positions. State is not concern with the civil matters. State is always least bothered about the personal matters of some individuals. In civil matters all the matters are brought before the court by parties themselves. But crime is always considered as a social menace and a threat to society at large. So it is the state that brings an action against the culprits on behalf of the deceased. Crime is always a threat to society. It is not the criminal but his behaviour that endangers and creates problems in society. Rutumbhara www.lawkonect.com 09555 507 507
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