What is the difference between ‘Convention’ and ‘Law’? Which of these two should be given more attention while taking administrative decisions with regard to the tribal regions? In ethical parlance, which of the above two deserves more compliance? (250 W)

A convention is a set of agreed, stipulated, or generally accepted standards, norms, social norms, or criteria, often taking the form of a custom. Certain types of rules or customs may become law and regulatory legislation may be introduced to formalize or enforce the convention (for example, laws that define on which side of the road vehicles must be driven). In a social context, a convention may retain the character of an “unwritten law” of custom (for example, the manner in which people greet each other, such as by shaking each other’s hands).

On the other hand law is a system of rules which a particular country or community recognizes for regulating the actions of its members and which it may enforce by the imposition of penalties.
• Convention is more optional except fear of moral or social alienation, but law is more binding as state machinery ensures its compliance.
• Laws are better than conventions from an administrator’s perspective because they are certain, they give power to implement and also there is a fear among those who intend to violate them.
But laws need to evolve with time and situations as well as aspirations of those on whom they are applied. In case law is static and too binding it may become counter-productive.
• On the other hand, an administrator must factor in conventions in his or her decisions to realize the goals of law and order as well as welfare. Administrators can never be able to enforce laws without taking care of local conventions nor they can totally rely on conventions for a better judgment or decision making. When conventions are considered absolute realities, they contribute to dogmatism, which in turn leads to conflict. This does not mean that conventions should be absolutely ignored as unreal and therefore useless. Instead, according to Buddhist thought, a wise person adopts a middle way without holding conventions to be ultimate or ignoring them when they are fruitful.

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