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Austin Command Theory

The Command Theory ( Austin) Command is an expression of wish or desire an intelligent person, directing another person to do or to forbear from doing some act, the violation of which will be followed by every consequences on the person so directed.


Command———————Duty


Wish non Compliance Sanction

(a) To do (b) to not do


Command envisages the presence of two parties, the commander and the commanded or the political superior and the political inferior.

Command is an authoritative desire which leaves no option but to obey it and has an inbuilt notion of sanction i.e. should the desire be disobeyed the sanction follows automatically.

Austin has propagated that law is command which imposes a duty and failure to fulfill the duty attracts sanction (punishment). Thus law he three main feature:-

(1) It is a command. (2) It is laid down by a Sovereign authority. (3) It has sanction behind it.


Command and Duty are correlative terms, the meaning denoted by each being implied or supported by the other.

When ever a duty lies a command has been signified and whenever a command is signified a duty is imposed. Concisely expressly commander is one who can inflict an evil and one who is liable to be inflicted the evils bound or obliged by the command. He who will inflict an evil in case his desire is disregarded utters a command by expressing or intimating a desire. He who is liable to the evil in case he disregards the desire is bound or obliged by command.

The evil which probably be incurred in case a command be disobeyed or in case a duty is broken is frequently called as sanction or an enforcement of obedience.



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