December 26 2008

In today’s semi-civilized world, whipping and flogging are not allowed anywhere. Back in 1911 things were different. The following are some excerpts from an article titled “Corporal Punishment” published in the Encyclopedia Brittanica of 1911, the so-called “Scholars’ edition”. The full article may be read by CLICKING HERE.
Among persons invested with punitive authority, mention must first be made of parents and guardians, and of teachers, who have, by implied delegation from the parents, and as incidental to the relation of master and pupil, powers of reasonable corporal punishment. Such powers are not limited to offences committed by the pupil upon the premises of the school, but extend to acts done on the way to and from school and during what may be properly regarded as school hours.

In some of the older English legal authorities it was stated that a husband might inflict moderate corporal punishment on his wife in order to keep her “within the bounds of duty.” But these authorities were definitely discredited in 1891 in the case of R. v. Jackson (1 Q.B. 671). By the unmodified Mahommedan law, a husband may administer moderate corporal punishment to his wife; but it is doubtful whether this right could be legally exercised in British India.

At common law, courts of justice had jurisdiction to impose a sentence of whipping on persons convicted on indictment for petty larceny or misdemeanours of the meaner kind. But they do not now impose such sentence except under statutory authority. The whipping of women was absolutely prohibited in 1820 by the Whipping of Female Offenders Abolition Act of that year. But there are numerous statutes authorizing the imposition of a sentence of whipping on male offenders.

For example, Adults who are incorrigible rogues (Vagrancy Act 1824, § 10); First Offenders Act 1887); if a boy is over 7 and under 12, not more than 6 strokes, if he is over 12, but under 14, not more than 12 strokes may be inflicted; the birch-rod is to be used, and the punishment is to be given by a police constable in the presence of a superior officer, and of the parent or guardian if he desire it. In Scotland the whipping of male offenders under 14 is regulated by the Prisons (Scotland) Act 1860 and offenders over 16 may not be whipped for offences against person or property (Whipping Act 1862, § 2).

In the United States whipping is not a legal punishment under the Federal Law (Revised Stats. U.S. § 5327). But in some of the states of the Union whipping is inflicted under statute, and is not held cruel or unusual within the Federal Constitution (1 Bishop, Amer. Crim. Law, 8th ed., § 947). In Delaware wife-beating and certain offences against property by males are punishable with flogging; and in Maryland the same punishment is applicable for wife-beating. Flogging is in force as a disciplinary measure in some penal institutions.

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