The Indian Penal Code by Professor K.D. Gaur is a marvelous classic work in the fields of criminal law of outstanding merit. Unlike the traditional treatise in criminal law, the unique feature of the book is that it explores the untouched arena in criminal jurisprodence dealing with nature and concept of crime and the scope of punishment under the Indian Penal Code. The latest innovations through judicial and administrative techniques of creativity have been well projected in the book wherein the judiciary has played an innovative and pivotal role in evolving new concept of criminal jurisprudence.
The author briefly outlines the fundamentals of crime and criminal law, principles of criminal liability, mens rea, vicarious and strict liability and discusses elaborately almost every type of punishable offences including offences against human body. Crime against women, brideburning and dowry related offences, suicide, torture and sexual offences, rape, custodial rape, custodial violence, unnatural offences and sexual harassment at work place etc., in detail. The question of desirability of death sentence for a rapist has been critically examined and evaluated in the Indian context.
Capital punishment, methods of executions, the movement towards worldwide abolition of death sentence, etc., that has finally resulted in the abolition of capital punishment from the statue book of 120 countries has been elaborately discussed. The finding of the Law Commission of India (2003) on the mode of execution indicating 51 per cent, and as high 69 per cent, of the Times of India SMS respondents` preference for public handing is startling. This reveals public disgust and apathy in criminal judicial system.
Right to life visavis right to die with special reference to euthanasia (mercy killing) and critical illness, worldwide trend to legalize physician assisted suicide (PAS) with adequate safeguards in case of terminally ill and to provide a provision for `living will` on the pattern of the Oregon Death with Dignity Act, 1994 (United States) have been discussed extensively. Right to refuse unwanted medical treatment, withdrdawal of ventilators and life supporting apparatus in case of a person in vegetative state (PVS) (NHA Trust v. Blend) and doctor`s refusal to provide treatment to a patient suffering from acute myeloid leukemiacancer (R. v. Cambridge Health Authority) are some of the fascinating topice that find place in the book. An important feature of the book is the inclusion of important cases of commonwealth and other countries, apart from exhaustive Indian Case Laws, such as England, Northern Ireland, Australia, New Zealand Canada, South Africa, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Singapore, United States, EEC countries and Geremany etc, on related topics at the appropriate places to apprise the readers of the global trend on such important issues of significance.
Cyber crimes (vide Information Technology Act, 2000), character assassination of a prosecutrix in crossexamination (vide proviso to section 146 Indian Evidence (Amendment) Act, 2002) and recent Amendments to the Indian Penal Code vide the Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act, 2005 that has added sections 153AA, 174A, and 229 in the Code find place in the book. The excellent annexures comprising the rights of the accused, justice to the victims of crime and schedule classifying the category of offernces enhance the worth of the volume. The utility of the book can best be seen when one is confronted with a particular problem.
The book not only gives a complete insight in the text of the statutes but also analyses the black letter with the help of epoch making judgments. The discussion throughout is clear, brief, lucid and to the point. Critical and juristic comments have been made to stimulate the process of encouraging a healthy convention of debate on major legal issues of topical importance that may help in formulation of future policy and of laws, in correct and proper perspective. Such an approach is seldom found in Indian legal literature.
The matter has been dealt with so thoroughly and in such depth that the book is indispensable tool for the bench and bar besides the academic community and people in general.