Dr Farogh Nasim Sahib
Minister of Law
Government of Pakistan
Payment of compensation in lieu of imprisonment
Dear Dr Farogh Nasim,
A criminal may go to jail after conviction but the victim gets nothing other than the satisfaction of punishment to the guilty.
In case of theft or some other financial loss, the convict must compensate for the loss of the victim. The same should apply in case of personal injury. If the victim is the state, it too must be compensated.
In all such cases, the convict should be offered an alternative to imprisonment. Allow him the option of paying compensation to the state or the victim of the crime for the imprisonment. Depending on the financial status of the culprit, the court may determine the amount of compensation. If the culprit cannot pay in lump sum, he may pay in reasonable installments, as decided by the court. The compensation amount may be deposited in the bank account of the state or the victim, as the case may be.
The compensation may be allowed to be paid in cases of non-heinous crimes or if the court may allow it. The arrangement will have several benefits:
a) The family of the culprit will not suffer hardship if he is the only bread-earner.
b) The culprit will have the freedom to live a normal life while suffering the punishment for the crime in the form of compensation.
c) The Government will not have to keep the culprit in jail and bear the expense.
d) The over-crowding in jails will end as the number of prisoners will be reduced drastically.
السلام علیکم و رحمۃ اللہ و برکاتہ!
محمّد عبد الحمید
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