LIGHTING THE LAMP OF JUSTICE
A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO THE REACH OF LAW IN THE DARKER AREAS OF SOCIAL LIFE
The society and the civic institutions of a country shape the future of the citizens. As old as the memorable history of any society goes, some institutions are always found to be of foundational importance of the society. For example, marriage as a social institution has been in existence in some form or other in every society since times immemorial. The forms of marriage maybe different, but marriage as an institution have been present in every time frame. Similarly, other social institutions are also present. Such institutions are simple, and easily identifiable, whereas others are complex and not easily recognizable. Some such complex institutions are those of the Divisions of Labour, Class Divisions, Patriarchal and Matrilineal Institutions, Justice Delivery System, Prison Administration, etc. Each of such institution have a profound effect over the collective conscience of the society.
The effects of such institutions in the lives of people is often very subtle. Thus, to understand such institutions and their role in the society, one must be trained in proper manner. Now, we know that Law as a social and political institution is always having an effect over the other institutions of society. Hence, a person trained in law must be able to properly identify such institutions and study their effects on each aspect of life.
Further, we know that law and society are both mutually dependent on each other and are affecting the growth and quality of one another. For example, a society characterized by lower crime rates and less violence may require a different legal system than a society characterized by a higher rate of crimes and rampant violence. Thus the character of the society determines the nature of the legal system. Again, in a society with strict administration of criminal justice and a greater conviction rate, people may be deterred to commit offences and the position maybe quite different in a society where such laws are lenient. Thus, the character of the Legal System in the long run determines the character of the Society.
A more practical example of this relationship may be given at this point. For example, when the process of industrialization started, there were few laws governing the labour relations. However when the labour disputes started to take shape, many beneficial legislations like those of regulating minimum wages, maternity benefits, leisure hours, etclegislations were passed to regulate the labour relations.
Thus, law always transforms from a generalized existence to more specialized existence. Thus, administration of justice is now also affected by tribunal system. Parliamentary Legislation have given way to a more varied forms of Delegated Legislations. In this transformation and growth of law, law persons, that is, the persons associated with law, like the lawyers, judges, law teachers, etc play an important role.
To take some concrete examples of such transformation, we can state the situations where the growth of law have provided leadership to the society to transform. In India, we can identify a number of such examples in the workings of the legal system, particularly the Judiciary. For example, under the leadership of Judges like Justice Krishna Iyer, Justice Bhagwati, Justice H.R. Khanna, our legal system have developed by leaps and bounds. The judgements have brought revolutionary changes in the society by transforming prison administration, rules regulating filing of cases in matters of common cause of a number of distressed persons, the prevention of sexual harassment in workplace, causes of environmental pollution, etc.
These far reaching changes, particularly the changes in the legal system in the areas of transgender rights, gender equality, etc have been the result of the judicial process. Similarly, the result of a political agitation was manifested in the establishment of the institution of Lokpal. Likewise, the Parliamentary and Executive needs of the country affected the changes in laws relating to Sexual Offences, Investigation of Corruption, etc.
All these legal changes were ultimately the result of an activist nature, whether that of the Judiciary, Executive or the Legislature, as well as of the general public. This activism stems from a sense of Justice, a sense which is so profound and holy that the beneficial changes resulting from such kinds of activism guards against the vices of the society for decades.
This sense of Justice grows right from the childhoodof a person, but this growth can be groomed by and shaped by the teachers and other individuals in a persons life. Legal Reason, is different from Logical or Normal reason. Thus, as the Legal Justice emanates from Legal Reason, hence, a proper training and grooming of a person in Legal Reason must be there for that person to have a sense of Legal Justice. It is this sense of justice which ultimately shapes the lifetime of the person who comes into contact with this sense.
Thus, the normal person, that is the layman, can be transformed into a person associated with law in a University or Law College. This being said, it must be noted that the life spent in a law college becomes the deciding factor in the overall success of the person involved. Thus a Law Faculty must be selected on different considerations. The role of Faculty members becomes crucial for such success.
Nishit R. Chaki
Assistant Professor Law
Faculty of Law