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Hi everyone, we have added some pointers on how to address this essay. The link has been added below the essay topic.
Try this –
@discuss sir – video has been removed. Pls check. It would be really helpful to get this feedback and compare with what I thought and wrote.
Hi, a video by K Siddharth on how to approach the justice essay has been uploaded above.
Is Puducherry a state ?
Justice is not in Law, Justice is in all about how we treat each other
Justice if taken by its meaning is being JUST or say right. But in today’s day and date it is taken into consideration as dispensing of law at the first instance, while it has much more ambit than what it simply is seen as. Let us delve into the journey of justice into the present context.
The earliest man as he progressed from being a nomad to the present era of mammoth civilisations has formed grouping/ society where in people gather, work together, live and also procreate there by leading to larger settlements. The evolution has led us to rules and regulations for living together i.e., law.
According to ancient Greek philosophy Justice can be seen from the perspective of harmony, divine command and later during the phase of John Locke it is considered as what one is entitled to.
So we can infer from the above that Justice is being morally right, or what one is entitled to without encroaching into the rights of others.
If we think deeper into the meaning of justice we can see that it is being just because there need not be a law for everything, especially that which is common understanding.
If we look justice from Societal point of view, spitting on the roads is not right but there is no law preventing it in many a countries but Singapore has that law in order to maintain clean streets and also preventing the spread of health hazards. So we can infer that what all is right from societal perspective need not be a law.
If we take a view of the same from economic point of view, there are instances of huge corporations which pay no taxes to the country where in profits are made by registering themselves in foreign countries where laws are favourable to escape taxes. But would it be right to say that since business is profit, they need not care about the taxes whose end point is welfare.
In environmental context, we dispose plastic covers in the streets and use them in spite of knowing the damage it causes to eco-sphere. Well there are laws prohibiting it but do we follow the same?
If seen from the perspective of gender equality, everybody is born of a woman. And in India where we have goddess for education, wealth, power we still mistreat women and even worse see them as lesser equals. In spite of having many a programmes and laws to make us see this, do most of us not have the callous attitude?
Also caring for the old especially be it our parents and grandparents is a duty which every person has to adhere to. This is a simple understanding because that is what we expect of the future generations for us. Do we require a law for the same?
So it is not the laws which deliver justice, it is the moral compass of how we navigate ourselves through our lives.
Now if we consider justice from the point of treating each other harmony and peace is what is keeping people live in the present dog-eat-dog world.
It is simple act say sharing a meal with homeless, guiding a lost person on the road, standing up for those who cannot protect themselves is what justice is, essentially making world a better place to live in if not only for our neighbours but also our progeny.
So justice is not only in the laws that we create but in every step we take in this world which is not your home but is of all those who are in it, together.
Justice is not in Law, Justice is in all about how we treat each other
One day while traveling in Delhi Metro, I found a old lady who could barely stand waiting for a seat. No one in the train cared to offer her a seat when she needed it the most. I felt bad about how we treated the old in our society and medically unfit people who probably need more care. I felt that it was injustice to the woman that she could not get a seat at all. Justice Is not in the courts of the nation but in our homes. It is all about how we treat each other. I mean someone should have offered her a seat.
Canadian Prime Minister has recently apologized for the Komagata Maru incident that happened during the freedom struggle. He apologized for the injustice done to people by not allowing them to land in Canada which led to their killing. Similarly, US President Mr. Obama for the first time has visited Japanese nuclear attack memorial. This shows his concern for the treatment of US towards Japan during World War. The use of nuclear weapon has been seen as ill-treatment by the whole world. The world has realized the injustice done to people and countries with changing time.
Conception of justice has been evolving over time. While Plato, considered as a pioneer in Western Political thought rejected Justice as rule of strong over weak, Aristotle designed distributive justice based on merit. Justice has been most controversial term to define. However, one thing has been common. Justice has always focused on better lives and ‘common good’ for people.
Even within Indian political thinkers like Gandhi and M.N. Roy justice is a conception of good. Gandhi ji has worked for emancipation of downtrodden and removing untouchability. M. N. Roy had focused on humanism whose core concept is treatment of everyone with humane principles. After all, the whole fight for freedom was against injustice by Britain on Indians. The injustice I am talking about is not inequality in laws or wealth but the injustice by treating them inferior. Indians were not allowed to even with English men and were treated like animals.
Justice covers a whole range of areas not limiting to economic sphere but extending to environment, social and political sphere. Economic sphere includes our treatment to the poor people such as beggars. They do not get enough food for the day and live in utter poverty. Justice to them would be when they are given enough money and economic opportunities to earn for themselves enough to live in minimum humane conditions. The distribution of wealth among people and nations shows the high economic inequalities which are misused in treating poor nations at international forums.
Environmental justice is the latest addition to show how we treat each other and other nations as well. Most of us know about the Climate Change problem and increasing temperatures across the globe. The rich nations have ignored the poor nations and their rights as an association of people. Island nations have often been ignored in these considerations and faced maximum damage to their people. Isn’t it grave injustice done to them?
Gender Injustice is common in our country. Recently, apex court had advocated strongly for justice to women by allowing entry to temples and Haji Ali Dargah. Concern for treatment to women has increased with time. While women have got justice through legal equality in economic, social and political sphere, they are still discriminated. This clearly shows that justice is not in laws but in how we treat each other. Historically, women were not even considered equal to men. Slowly they got social equality and political equality. It is shocking that women did not have voting rights in many countries even till mid 20th century.
Women has been ill-treated in our society. Domestic violence, restricting them household have been even advocated by political thinkers in past. It was not long ago when people in our country had risen against rape. Indian government has tried to work towards better gender justice through schemes like Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Swadhar scheme to help women. Apex court’s Vishakha guidelines to women against domestic violence is a great step to bring justice.
Justice is not restricted to just humans and extend even to animals. People have thrown dogs from terraces just for their fun. There have been cases of rape cases of animals by human. For medical tests, we use animals and repeated tests show cruel nature of men. These practices are inhumane and are injustice to the animals.
Injustice by people to other people is common. However, injustice by state authorities is not uncommon. Many governments across the country treat their citizens with utter disregard and inhumane principles. Restricting their rights for the benefit of ruling elite is biggest injustice done to the people in a state. Military rule in countries like Myanmar and Pakistan has been highly regressive for people there. Even with in our country, tribal communities have not received justice. Most people do not treat them equal and consider them primitive. They have suffered due to our “progressive” development.
Justice as good treatment of people by both people and government is important for sustaining a polity. Justice is the key to equality and development. It keeps people bound in a political community. We can already see how injustice can lead to insurgency and separatism with in a state. As in the case of lady in metro, we can see many daily practice which are injustice to people.
While justice can be coded in laws, it can not provide control treatment in private sphere. It is in our control how we treat our parents, children and other people. The whole is one family and must be treated with same respect as we would treat our own parents or family.
@kunalaggarwal: Your essay starts off very well with a personal example. It sets the right tone for the essay. There is a nice flow to the entire essay and it seems flowing very logically from one aspect to another. It also comes across as a tightly woven and strongly inter-connected collection of various facets. You have also very well-captured the social, economic and political angles of justice as well as two key concepts: environment and gender justice. Overall, brilliant coverage of breadth.
I’d suggest you also add 1-2 para on the positive aspect of inter-people justice, viz., people involved in welfare work, people who wish to make the society better and work for reforms. Highlight the role of state and non-state actors in promoting/upkeep of both codified and non-codified justice. Some good examples from the global perspective would help as well: think of the refugee problem — some nations absolutely hate them, while others have done commendable work (although for vested interests).
Once again, very well-written essay. Was a delight to read and learn from…
thanks for the detailed review @vidyarthisojourn. You are right. I haven’t talked about positive examples at all which is bad. Will balance from next time onwards 🙂
@pranavce15: Pranav, your essay comes across as a very well-detailed explanation of what justice is and what it should be. Your essay has a nice flow to it – from the temporal perspective. It moved very well from ancient to present and talked a little about the future.
However, I couldn’t see a proper treatment meted out to the second part of the topic – “how we treat each other”. Your essay would have been brilliant if the topic just revolved around justice and its evolution. I think you have a brilliant vocabulary and your choice of words is very good. However, you also need to do enough justice (pun intended :-)) to all the aspects of the topic. While reading your essay, I almost thought I was reading a column on page 11 of The Hindu – it was so well-written. However, if I was the examiner, I would have been a bit disappointed to see you talked only about justice and didn’t bring in a slew of examples to highlight the latter part of the topic. You are one of those people who have an amazing array and range of thoughts (its a gift, trust me!), however, it also leads to the fact that you tend to explain things in more detail than others would.
I really think you can score exceptionally well. Are you more of the spontaneous writer or do you prepare an outline before you begin your essay? For people like you, I’d strongly suggest the latter since you have such amazing thought-flow and command over the language since the tendency is to get carried away and write all that you know. Also, do bring in a touch of personal examples, narration of events, questions to make your essay more dynamic.
I wish you the very best and hope you come out with flying colours.
Hey, @vidyarthisojourn, thank you much for reviewing. 🙂
Yes, I agree my essay lacks in discussion of the 2nd facet(though, I had a misjudgment of having overpassed the word limit and so ended abrubtly.
A Question: For the essay paper, do we have restricted space as in GS exam or is it a big booklet where you may write endlessly?)
I try to chart out an outline lest I keep rambling.
All the very best to you too brother, you write some great answers here and If I’m not mistaken @IASbaba too.. 🙂
@pranavce15: big booklet – but don’t write endlessly :-D. Great to see that you jot down an outline.
You’re far too kind – I’m struggling with my answer-writing skills on CD, IASBaba and Insights platforms – though I must say that the CD questions are reviwed more holistically. I’m trying to work on it – but it is a frustratingly slow process and I don’t have the luxury of time. If you’d like to share your honest and brutal feedback on any topic (which would help me improve), I’ll be grateful.
Justice is Truth in action. It is the broad notion that is based on the concept of moral rightness in treating every person fairly and giving each person his due. Justice is what everyone seeks but not necessarily want to give to others. As a result, society on its own is not always very just. Therefore, maintenance of justice, requires an external mechanism for enforcement.
As per the Social Contract Theory of John Locke, we the people, as a society, need to surrender some of our rights and liberties to the ruling organisation and tolerate some inconvenience in order derive some benefits like security, law and order, justice. The ruling organisation then ensures that the rights of one individual do not infringe upon the rights of others and that justice is maintained even as some of our liberties and rights are restricted in the process. It does so, by giving the onus of formulation of laws and rules to the legislature and the onus of enforcement of those laws to the executive. The judiciary, then acts a body that one can approach if they feel that they have been denied justice – either by the government or by any another individual or entity. Thus, the idea that justice needs the mediation of a neutral third party by laws and punishment mechanisms, has always found place in writings, theories as well as history. Closer home, it can been seen in writings of Arthashatra as way back in 2nd century BC.
However, it has often also been realised that the government or the ruling organisation may distort the notion of justice in favour of those who comprise it, resulting in creeping of elitist tendencies and a systematic deprivation of those lying at the lower rungs of the society by biased laws, rulings etc. John Rawls was quick to flag off this issue in his Theory of Justice. He remedied this issue by his concept of tabula rasa or blank slate. Here, a person in charge of taking an important decision having the capacity to affect several other persons,attempts to remove all his conditioning and identification with a particular class, group etc. before taking that decision. The premise was that if a person does not know where he/she will fall after the decision is taken, he/she would try to be as just as possible knowing well that he/she could be at the receiving end of the decision. In this way, an attempt will be made to provide everyone his or her due.
In this concept, the notion of social justice as a responsibility of the government can well be seen, showing that government is also responsible for social justice in addition to procedural justice. In India, we can see social justice in the form of laws that prevent discrimination, social ills like sati, dowry, untouchability etc. Social justice also has a more positive dimension in that the government will strive to reduce inequality by its redistribution function by means of taxation followed by welfare and developmental schemes for the more disadvantaged sections of the society. Concept of Antyodaya or the “poorest of the poor” is based on the same concept as are schemes like PDS, RTE, ICDS, IGMSY, BGRF etc.
A dedicated mechanism for social and procedural justice is surely helpful is streamlining the process of administering justice. It also provides a skeleton for reminding us what is seemed acceptable by the society and the nation at large. However, it has also made us more complacent. We have started attributing the function of upholding justice as solely the responsibility of the government and its law enforcement agencies. The problems like poverty, social inequality are the government’s prerogative to solve, we say, a duty in which it is often said to be failing. Yet we scarcely come forward and take action even when mechanisms like petitioning, Corporate Social Responsibility, NGOs, PPP exist for the same. Even when we do, it is more as a way to save on taxes, satisfy regulatory compliance norms, get economic benefits and social prestige. The notion of upholding the tenets of social justice is seldom the motive behind these actions.
When it comes to procedural justice, there is an even greater abdication of responsibility of civil society members as they feel that laws and law enforcement are the exclusive domain of the Law enforcement agencies. It is perhaps because of this that one rarely reports breaking of laws unless if affects one personally. A provision for some monetary reward has to be made for laws like PCPNDT for female foeticide to increase the reporting of this crime.
Reporting of crime or a wrong-doing forbidden by law is one thing, being a part of one is another. Reporting often involves a social cost of being seen as a vigilante, however, committing a wrong-doing and violating the principles of procedural justice has no excuse. The notion of “innocent until proven guilty”, as propagated by the rule of law, has some unintended consequences. It makes one feel guilty and responsible for an act only when one is caught. One feels that breaking the law is fine, provided on is not caught doing it. Self-regulation, as the most important virtue, has been altogether forgotten. Acting as checks and balances on each other, as a society has been ignored. It has lead to dangerous consequences like increase in crimes, break down in law and order, deprivation of the weaker sections, inequality etc.
This is because as a society, we have started taking law as a proxy for justice, rather than as a facilitator of justice. Laws are often applied based on discretion, with their underlying philosophy neglected. For instance, alcohol prohibition laws are applied seeing the background of the person, even as an underground market thrives beyond the reach of law. Poor people are sometimes made to go prom pillar to post, to get the necessary documents, so that the “right” procedure is not compromised on. However, the rich get things done by their power of money. This contradicts the very notion of social as well as procedural justice that the government seeks to uphold. Therefore, without the underlying philosophy, laws are just empty dictums.
Over the last few years, however, several sections of the civil society have recognised the problem with considering law to be the one-stop solution for upholding justice in a society. Platforms like change.org are being used to generate awareness about the responsibility of the public in upholding justice. The “My Gov” initiative by the government is a step in the right direction to address the general malaise caused by the sub-optimal implementation and enforcement of laws and tenets of social justice, by facilitating greater participation from the public. CSR initiatives have turned more value-driven. Private companies are seen participating with increased zeal in government initiatives like Digital India, Make in India. SHGs, NGOs like Kudumbashree are working to realise the true power of social capital in promoting social justice. RTI and PIL culture has helped in creating a brand of right-conscious citizens, who gravitate for the rights of those who can not speak for themselves. While this cultural transformation is a localised phenomenon, it marks a significant departure from the age old belief that it is only the responsibility of the government to uphold justice. With the cooperation from all the sections of the society and the synergies generated from this union, the day is not far when the dictum “Justice needs to be served by law” will be replaced by “Justice is served by the people, for the people, to the people”.
The good stuff
– You’ve defined justice and explained its origin very well
– using Locke and Rawls ideas was good stuff, inspires confidence in the reader about what you have written
– nice conclusion
Few points of criticism
– Very involved but involving and hence readability suffers. Keep in mind the evaluator would be reading hundreds if not thousand of these.
– too much attention on implementation of laws and enforcement and what the society should do and not enough on how do laws intersect and sometimes oppose justice and hence might not be the gold standard for ensuring justice.
Please review mine 🙂
Understanding the importance of justice, our visionary forefathers ensure social, political and economical justice by putting it into preamble of constitution, which serves as basic framework. DPSPs also find mention of justice and it was made a negative obligation on state to strive for providing justice to all its citizens. We also have robust judicial system at place to ensure justice to the last and most vulnerable person in society. ironically even after having so many mechanisms and institutions working towards providing justice; injustice is prevailing everywhere. From gender and caste discrimination, atrocities on dalits, exploitation and trafficking of kids, domestic and workplace violence, suppression of voice of girl child by foeticide, infanticide, child marriage, rape, molestation to killing of innocent citizens by extremists, forced prostitution etc are few examples. All these activities have no legal sanctity, there is strong provision for fine and imprisonment, still i can not remember a morning without having any of such injustice report on front page of newspaper.
Law can only make rules and give punishment to those who break rules, but what can be done if no FIR is being lodged or victim gets more humiliation than support to raise a voice or when our labyrinthine and delayed judicial sytem gives no hope to a father whose daughter has been raped and brutally killed or a poor person can not afford fee for top lawyer hence loose the case even before fighting for it? In all such cases there will be no justice even if it is mentioned in law. Because its we and our society who rape a girl, humiliate her for being raped, do not lodge FIR, questions her integrity and tear apart her character in courtroom; Rapist, neighour, police, lawyer all of them are us only. Everytime when a dalit is forced to drink his urine, a child is forced to work in a bangle factory, a baby is sold by his parents or a 10 year old girl made to wear bridal dress rather than school uniform, justice dies an unnatural death. We have laws for stopping dalit atrocities, for punishing kid’s employee, for child traffickers and for parents who indulge in child marriage, still we are far from succeeding in complete removal of any of such activities. No matter how strong in law, justice can not be ensured. If stringent law would have been the solution, then saudi arabia would not had any illegal activity. Though we all are aware that it is not the case. It may work as detterrent for some but definately not the medicine for justice. Moreover law can be made by legislature, enforced by executives but ultimately its we who have to follow it. Law enforcing agencies can not be omnipresent to make sure that no injustice is done to weak or vulnerables. Poor or no reporting is other issue because of which law becomes handicapped in providing justice, though its again we who are responsible for that. We do not report for ourselves, we do not report for others and we do not let others report because of societal stigma.
Though it may not be correct to say that justice is not in law, but definately law has its limitations rather many limitations when it comes for providing justice.Remedy of justice is within us. If we choose to speak rather than being a mute spectator, if we choose to act rather than blaming the victim and if we choose to practice same what we preach. We can endure justice if we choose to become responsible citizen, if we could treat each other equally and humanely, if we could teach our son the values of respecting women, if we could encourage our daughters to raise their voice when they feel that someone is crossing the line even if that person is our friend, family, relative or neighour, if we give a equally warm smile and handsake to our boss and peon, if we could honour disagreement of our female collegue gracefully rather than assasinating her character to hide our weak and useless point, if we provide wings of education to our girls rather than chain of marriage, if we could just understand a small point that being born in any particular cast does not make someone any of less human, if we could appreciate the fact that a victim is actually a survivor and need our love, compassion and support rather than rejection, stigmatisation and humiliation, if we could give education to chotu working in tea stall rather than giving tip, if we could help our landless brothers and sisters so that they can eat bread and butter rather than police’s bullet. We will need law for providing justice for cases like terrorism or where the offender is psychopath but here also our concern and care for others will definately reduce the number of such cases.
Justice can not be ensured till it is written only in our constitution but it can be ensured only when its finds its place in our heart, brain and deeds. Because the day we start treating everyone humanely,respectfully and equally, it will not only reflect in our personal activities but it will also change the way we work. If could change our workplace and our society in such a way that there is no component of hostility is there, instead friendly and accepting envitonment, it will not only reduce the cases of injustice but it will also increase reporting of cases which need justice from law. in conclusion it can be said that justice is like a multipronged strategy amd law happen to be one of the component of that.
See your answer was good and shows a lot of passion but the problem is there have been one too many examples of the same thing. I do agree that there are many forms of injustice say socio political economic environmental but your point of view is discrimination but look into the other facets and rape and rest regarding to that I feel is a bit too passionate, we need to be passionate but cannot come off revolutionary speech writers
This is what I felt I may be wrong please correct me in that case
@abhinavmanasp Thanks friend. Yeah i agree with you. I went in one direction only, i could have easily touched upon other areas also to make it mor diverse. Thanks for pointing out. Will surely improve in next.
While in South Africa, Gandhiji experienced a life changing event in his life. He was travelling in a train in the first compartment. The colonial regime of British empire racially justified segregation of people based on their color. So, when Gandhiji was asked to go to other compartment even he had a first class ticket. This racial discrimination enlightened Gandhiji to struggle for the masses in South Africa and later in India. Justice is not about what is in the books of law, but in understanding its relevance to the people.
In ancient India, the King was the ultimate ruler and the laws were framed in accordance with the easiness of ruling kingdom and extending the empire as well as within the frame of caste system. Clearly, the King and the priests had a great say in everything that governed people’s lives. However, there are instances where it was realized by few kings what the true meaning of justice was. After the Kalinga war, Ashoka realized the horrifying truth of war which had resulted only in bloodshed. He not only gave up further annexation but also made Dhamma as his way of life and enforced it. This was also the case in the great Mughal emperor Akbar who denounced the orthodox enforcement of religion upon others. It led him to discover Din-il-Ilahi which intended to merge the best elements of the religions of his empire which would reconcile the differences between his subjects.
With the advent of the colonial regime, repressive laws came into being which only had one aim of extracting maximum of resources from India. Revenue settlements like Zamindari system, Permanent settlement had impacted the cultivators negatively. There were also laws like Vernacular press act, Rowlatt act which were framed to suppress dissent by Indian people.
The freedom struggle had made the Constituent Assembly realize that laws must be for the welfare and betterment of people in all spheres of life. It was their judgment of the day that untouchability and discrimination based on gender, caste, and place of birth were abolished and citizenry was given fundamental rights. Directive principles were also framed to provide guidelines to the state for establishing a welfare state.
Justice is regarded as the right of the citizens and a duty of the state. It is necessary to maintain the ideals of democracy and a just society. It is also well known that justice delayed is justice denied. Further, laws have to be in conformity with changing times while protecting the values of democracy. Any laws which have the potential of state’s overreach or which affect the rights of the people will become a source of dissent and alienation. India is yet to overcome a host of problems which include caste discrimination, illiteracy and gender inequality. There are laws for each of these challenges in the elaborately written Constitution as well as various legislations and their amendment by the government that are being done time to time. However, justice will remain on paper till people have a change in their outlook and behavior. For instance, while there is a law for prevention of atrocities against the scheduled castses and tribes, yet there are cases of discrimination on the same grounds like the cases of flogging for skinning of animals, or inter-caste marriages. Besides, the state can also cause injustice by imposing draconian laws like the prohibition of liquor act in Bihar, which has seen 18000 people being jailed since its enactment this April.
How can then be justice ensured to people who though may be divided by linguistic, geographical and religious lines yet have a duty of developing India into a global leader? Justice must therefore begin at the lower levels of society. It can be started at home where children whether boys or girls are treated in the same manner to understand and respect gender equality. Then the role moves towards various institutions of society ranging from schools to civic bodies. Realizing the importance of improving literacy rate, Right to education was enacted to ensure free education to children till 14 years of age. It has been observed that some schools differentiate children from weaker sections, who are utilizing this Act to get the benefits of education, and the better-off ones. Therefore, the third important role is that of the government which must ensure enforcement of relevant laws meant for maintaining justice in all spheres of social, economic and cultural life. Finally, the most important job in ensuring that India remains a just society is that of judiciary. The provisioning of Judicial review by the framers of the Constitution has really proved a boon to the common man. Besides, judiciary itself also has been active in ensuring that the common man can impose undoubtable faith in it when the latter is faced with injustice. It was the Supreme Court which struck down section 66 of the IT Act which provided the government an alibi against any online dissent. Realising the plight of those affected by the AFSPA act, it has clearly brought guidelines against the overarching act which gave unquestionable powers to the security forces.
While there can be laws for everything, yet the source of injustice starts when people do not understand each other’s problems. Whether they are inter-state river disputes like the Cauvery dispute or communal differences, they all begin with uncompromising attitudes towards each other coupled with political interferences. All these disputes and discriminations speak of only one solution of how we treat and understand each other’s problems.
Action of a govt cannot be called injustice like that of Bihar, it is not like a basic fundamental right has been encroached upon.
Really well written and nice flow.
The transition from Gandhi’s eg to justice not being in the law books is rather abrupt. elaborate just a bit to smoothen it.
Please review mine 🙂
Tagged: Essay Challenge