What is the difference between Retributive Theory and Expiation Theory?

This article describes the difference between Retributive Theory and Expiation Theory.

Retributive Theory

  1. This theory works under the penal laws.
  2. Violence and personal revenge are in higher quantity in retributive theory.
  3. The punishment is imposed under this theory depending upon the nature of the offence. Generally, similarly injury or harm is caused to the accused, by which the victim suffered at the time of the criminal act.
  4. Generally, serious and light natured offences are covered under this theory.
  5. Retributive theory is an age-old principle and had been followed for centuries. Even now, in certain Islamic countries such types of punishments are followed.
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Expiation Theory

  1. This theory is akin to the law of torts.
  2. “Recognition of rights and grievance” of the victim or victim’s family members is the primary and essential things in expiation theory.
  3. The accused is not physically punished. He is economically punished, and such compensation is awarded to the victim or victim’s family members.
  4. Generally, expiation theory is adopted in light natured offences. (Section 320 compoundable offences of Cr. P.C.).
  5. Expiation theory is a new thinking of 19th and 20th centuries.
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