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  • Writer's pictureLAWGIC STRATUM

Natural and Legal Crimes – Opinion and Analysis

Author: Pranesh Raj S


Crime is to do or fail to do an act which is contradictory to the morals followed by the public or is punishable by law. One of the factors that determine the harshness of a crime is the perception of a human who sees it when it is acknowledged by a group of people or the rules created by the group of people for their welfare named law, as a wrong act it becomes a crime. By the above said human perception crime can be classified as Mala in se (Natural Crime) and Mala Prohibita (Legal Crime) in which Mala (Malum - singular) means an action that is made against other’s rights or against law.


The maxim Mala in se is a Latin term meaning “wrong or evil in its own self“. Hence Mala in se is a crime from the beginning that is done or omitted from being done. These crimes can also be mentioned as Natural crimes. Natural Crimes are acts deemed wrong regardless of the rules and actions enforced by law. They are universally accepted as crimes transcending any law throughout the world, carrying an inherent sense of evilness. Some of such Natural Crimes are murder, rape, and assault acknowledged by the rule of rationale. Even after being outlawed in many countries, such natural crimes are sometimes accepted under some exceptions like unfair restrictions of women in Afghanistan. Though such unfair restrictions are considered illegal throughout the world it is even supported by the government of Afghanistan.

Natural crime is an act done against either an individual or society but has a deep negative effect on society. They are obvious crimes done which in turn affects some obvious victims. They are serious crimes which causes more harm than legal crimes, occur more frequently, and are much more widespread in society.

Natural crimes are oppressed even during the past times in all the societies. They are crimes that a prudent man considers as an act that directly affects an individual with a negative effect on society.


Mala Prohibita is a Latin maxim which means “wrong only because it is prohibited by the country’s law”. Mala Prohibita is also called as Legal Crimes. Legal crimes are even considered crimes only because the law of that specific region is against the commission or omission of that act. Such crimes are not inherently bad. Some of such legal crimes are tax evasion, gambling, public intoxication, drunk driving, parking in a handicapped area, monopolization of the market, killing a person for self-defense, etc….. These crimes affect the society but they do not directly threaten the lives of the people as natural crimes.

Murder is of course a natural crime as it threatens the right to life of the victim. But a person is permitted to do anything necessary to save his own life. So when being threatened to be killed, a person if in an attempt to save his own life kills other people it is not a wrong thing to do. Even if such self-defense is a right guaranteed to every living person, killing is always an offense, no matter what so, such killing made during self defense is indeed a legal crime. The act is acceptable by morality but is still an offense under the law.

Legal crimes violate the law, but they are at most of the time considered legal. They are crimes that do not leave a victim in most cases. There may be victims in some exceptional cases. They are not such serious crimes nor do they have any strong negative effect on society. They cause less harm with less frequency.

These crimes may at most of the time have a reason when committed which may be morally right and legally wrong. Some acts like monopolization of the entire market are all not life-threatening but they affect the lifestyles of people trying to survive in those markets. Hence such an act of trying to take monopolization of the entire market is considered an offense under the Competition Act, 2002. This act was indeed created to prevent the abuse of market dominance.


Natural Crime is compared to a Latin maxim named “iussum quia iustum” which means “something that is commanded because it is just” and Legal Crime is compared to the maxim “iustum quia iussum” which means “something is just because it is commanded”. A crime is considered natural or legal by the degree of harm they cause to society. They are also classified by the frequency of such crime happening and the degree of pervasion of such crime throughout a country.

In my view, a crime does not only affect a victim but also the person committing such crime and the ones who are around them either mentally or physically or even both. It is impossible to create a crime-free world where human desires are unleashed and are always guided by bad forces like greed, jealousy, anger, impulse, etc…. But I wish patience, satisfaction; happiness, and kindness could grow a bit more inside the hearts of people and make them considerate towards the future generations to build a crimeless environment for those little budding flowers who still do not know the horrors of this greedy society.


1) Relation between Society and Crime –,acts%20need%20to%20be%20punished.

2) Pioneers in Criminology IV -

3) Natural crimes and Legal crimes -

Edited by Shuruthi J, Associate editor, Lawgic Stratum.

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