Wheels of Progress in Society - Law, Justice & Common Man
Law and order make rough things smooth, stop insolence, weaken violence, wither the growing blooms of sin, straighten the crooked judgments, calm arrogant deeds, stops deeds of dissension, and stop the anger of painful strife. Through law and order, all man’s affairs are suitable and prudent.
The environment in society without law and order is like an unruly horse. For smooth running of society and peaceful life of citizens, it is necessary that the people follow the law of their land.
Law, justice and the common man are like wheels of vehicle which when together works the vehicle of citizen life run normally. If any one of them refuses to stop functioning well, the whole nation suffers. Either it is the common man who refuses to follow law, or it is the judicial system which delays in rendering justice. Laws are made by the government for the well being and prosperity of common people. There prevails a judicial administrative system in the society and any member who does not perform his/her duty in this system result in the ultimate suffering of the common people. It is sad to say that that today money is the biggest power and sometimes even justice is being sold by the money. Due to this the common man has to suffer a lot. The faith of the people on the law and judicial system is minimizing. The delay in rendering judgment by the courts has resulted in agreeing parties to settle outside the court by way of other illegal means. The poor people are unable to cope up with the increased cost of litigation and hence they find it beneficial to face the suffering and the loss than to pay the excess cost of litigation. Laws are formulated to be followed by the people. The judicial system on the basis of these laws decides what is correct and what not. It punishes the guilty, the violator of laws and renders justice to the innocent person. This whole mechanism establishes peace, security and prosperity in the nation. However, if the judicial system does not perform well, the laws made for the benefit of the common man, cannot prove beneficial for the common people. For a peaceful progressive society, it is important that the people adhere to the laws formulated and do not violate them and incase of violation the judicial system provides quick correct order so as to resolve the matter. Security in nation leads to increase in foreign investment and economic activities. This has a positive effect and increases the per capita income of the people ultimately. Hence, law, justice and common man are wheels which when together runs leads to the path of success, security, prosperity and peace of the individuals and of the nation.
Law, justice and common man are inter-related with each other which together leads to the formation of an ideal civilized society. Society is the place where people live together and carry out their day to day activities with the help and co-operation of each other. There is social action and interaction between them. Certain rules and regulations made by the supreme authority, commonly known as law, govern the conduct of the people living in society so that the activities taking place in a society are carried out smoothly. The Laws governing the society ensures that the wrong doer/guilty gets punished and justice is given to the right and innocent person. This mechanism ensures peaceful and progressive environment in society. The laws governing any society differ from place to place country to country, and members of any land are governed by the law of their land or lex loci.
Law is the command of sovereign backed by sanction. Law can be defined as a body of official rules and regulations, generally found in constitutions, legislation, judicial opinions, and the like, that are used to govern a society and to control the behavior of its member.
In Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Ltd v. Union of India, it was said, Law is the manifestation of principles of justice, equity and good conscience. Rule of law should establish a uniform pattern for harmonious existence in a society where every individual would exercise his rights to his best advantage to achieve excellence, subject to protective discrimination. The best advantage of one person could be the worst disadvantage to another. Law steps in to iron out such creases and ensures equality of protection to individuals as well as group liberties. Man’s status is a creature of substantive as well as procedural law to which legal incidents would attach. Justice, equality and fraternity are trinity for social and economic equality. Law is the foundation on which the potential of the society stands…….”
Thus, careful examination of the above definitions of law gives us a clear understanding that it is a set of rules which is followed in society for ensuring proper development, progress and justice to the members of society, the major part of which is comprised of common man, aam admi. Law needs to secure human happiness and forbid those acts and attempts that are injurious to the welfare of an individual to the welfare of an individual and society. It has been rightly quoted by the Institutes of Justinian about law that “The percepts of law are these: to live honestly, to injure no one, and to give every man his due”. The basic theme on which law operates is to provide justice to the honest and innocent person and to protect its rights.
The society, from the time immemorial, has been divided into different strata on basis of money, caste, occupation, etc. Commonly, it is seen that people are divided on the basis of money and caste. The high income group, middle income and the low income group being the bifurcation of society as per monetary basis. The high income group are often regarded as the most influential and powerful group in a society. The middle and the low income group often comprise larger section of any society thereby forming the group of aam admi.
The government of any country, any nation, is formed by the members of that nation either directly or indirectly. In democratic country like India, the government is of the people, for the people and by the people. Hence, administration of justice is a State obligation, perhaps one of the most significant. Justice is the foundation stone of a democratic state. The governing bodies are under obligation to frame such laws which provide benefit and enable progress of the country and most importantly impart justice to the needy people. The government of any country frame its policies keeping in mind the benefits and progress of the common man. It is the responsibility of every government to ensure that their legislative agenda has at its core, a genuine concern for the well being of the common man, that it is reflective of their hopes and their aspirations. The legislative reforms in any country are directed towards empowering and improving the conditions of ‘aam aadmi’.
Federal country like, India, has three different independent wings which carry the work of fulfilling the objectives set by the government, basically the administration of justice. They are judiciary, executive and legislature. The legislature frames laws, executive implements them and judiciary imparts justice to the people on the basis of laws framed by the legislature. The legislature of any country frames laws keeping in mind the welfare of the common people along with the progress of the society. Whenever any law is being violated by any citizen, it is the judiciary which imparts justice to the person whose right has been infringed or is aggrieved. A citizen who feels aggrieved either by the action of another or even by an action by the State can approach the appropriate court by way of a petition. Thus in this way, the three wings together independently promote and protect the well being of each and every individual and thereby the nation on whole. They together work likes any mechanism to provide justice to the common man by the implementation of laws. It must be remembered that ultimate power of the courts i.e. the judicial system arises not be the stick it wields, but by the degree of confidence that the citizens place in it. On the whole, for the survival and growth of society, an efficient legal system and one that renders timely justice is a must.
The Constitution of India in sonorous terms resolves to constitute India as a Sovereign Democratic Republic and to secure to all its citizens Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. The Constitution of India seeks to provide its citizens Justice-social, economic and political, Equality of status and of opportunity. Along with these the Constitution has the aim of promoting among all its citizens Fraternity, ensuring dignity to all its citizens and also unity and integrity of the nation. Thus, the goal of the Constitution of law which is the source of all Indians law is that all the citizens of India be entitled to social, economic and political justice along with equality of status and opportunity. The whole democratic system of Indian Government works on the procedure laid down in the constitution made by our fore fathers. When the Constitution of India was made, main goal in the minds of the framers were the progress and prosperity of the nation as it had been continuously under several years of foreign rule. The Nation was once known as “Golden Bird” but over the time it had been plundered and exploited. Its people had to face a lot of hardship and therefore, the Drafting Committee, constituted to frame the Constitution, under the chairmanship of Dr. B.R.Ambedkar and its fellow members explored other constitutions of the world and pick and chose those laws which would prove beneficial to the people of India and would fulfill their interest and provide them with happy and prosperous living. Therefore, the government form was made democratic so that the leaders of the country were responsible for their work and they had duty to fulfill towards common people and work for their benefit. In case they were unable to fulfill, they would be thrown out in next elections. Such huge power was vested in the hands of common people known as Universal Adult Franchise by the framers of Constitution.
Part III of the Constitution of India deals with Fundamental rights and is one of the gifts given by the forefathers to the common people to ensure their security and prosperity. Any infringement of these rights, that gives power to an Indian citizen to progress and prosper for the benefit of himself and under Article 226 before the high Courts of India. Article 14 provides “Equality before Law” which means that every person irrespective of caste creed and other things is equal before law. Law made by the legislature is same for all and equally binding. No one can be denied from justice.
In the present scenario, where there is so much competition, Article 16 provides that every citizen would be given equal opportunity in public employment irrespective of his caste, creed, sex, residence and other things. Many a times it happens that affluent people in society on the basis of their power and position try to exploit and harass the down trodden people. Article 21 gives right to protection of life and personal liberty to every citizen except according to procedure established by law.
Part IV of the Indian Constitution, deals with Directive Principles of State Policy which acts as yardstick for the Indian government and help them in fulfilling their objectives. It declares India as a “Welfare State”. As per Article 39-A, the Indian State should work to promote equal justice and free legal aid. This implies that justice to all should be imparted irrespective of anything and those who are unable to access to the judicial system due to financial reasons, it is the obligation of the State to provide them with free legal aid so that they do not remain aloof from being imparted justice and no innocent gets punished.
Every coin has two faces and clap is always from both hands. So when the constitution provides rights to the citizens, it also at the same time imposes certain duties on them so that there is no obstruction in the path of the government while it fulfills its objectives. Every citizen is bound to follow those duties known as Fundamental Duties which has been laid down in the Constitution of India. Proper exercise of rights and discharge of duties, both by the State and the people, results in proper functioning of the government and brings prosperity to the individual and nation on the whole.
However, with the passage of time, and increase in corruption proper functioning of the legal system was not taking place. There was delay in giving justice and sometimes important matters were not given much importance. Thus to overcome these problems and to improve the working of the legal system, the revolutionary concept of “Public Interest Litigation” was introduced in the Indian Justice System by former Hon'ble Chief Justice of India, Mr.P.N.Bhagwati. In layman’s terms this concept is known as “Justice for the ‘common man’.” The concept arose out of his long-standing personal views regarding what the true role of the judiciary ought to be: “The judiciary has the responsibility to serve the common man because the judges are in charge of administering the law. Judges have to give effect to the law, they have to interpret the law, and therefore judges must have the interest of the common man at heart. Judges must feel and know what the common man wants.” Thus, with the introduction of this new concept, socially aware people, who worked and wished for the benefits of society, were able to file complaint and bring immediate attention of the judiciary towards the violation of law taking place openly in society in-spite of the presence of social control bodies like police authorities who are in-charge to keep maintain peace and security in the society and to keep a check on anti-social activities and furthermore to arrest and catch hold of the law violators.
Addressing the members of the Advocates Association of Bangalore (AAB), a senior judge of the Supreme Court said that judges and advocates should work together to render justice to the commw6on man. The judges and the lawyers, who are the real interpreters of the statutory law, should be ones, who have profound knowledge about the prevailing laws and that they should truly and dedicatedly work to provide justice to the common people.
An inefficient law and justice system limits and impedes economic performance of a country. Law is not isolated from the rest of society; rather, the law affects economic development. And the evolution of the economy and the market will not occur if that law does not come to prevail. The law must be reformed to make way for the market economy, so as to be able to guarantee the rights of those citizens who are not only poor but also those who live within and by the boundaries of the law. A proper set of laws that are fine-tuned and an efficient judicial system act as an accelerant, while an improper set of laws, tardy justice, poor governance and inefficient administration act as a retardant. An inefficient law and justice system could become a dead weight to development efforts. How citizens interact amongst each other in society is to a large extent driven by economic pulls and pressures. A reliable and efficient law and justice system guarantees security of person and property to citizens; providing a dispassionate forum for resolving disputes, thereby enabling citizens to realize their aspirations by emboldening them to participate in economic activity and availing the benefits of peace and liberty.
If the laws could speak for themselves, they would complain of the lawyers in the first place- Lord Halifax.
It is easy to say that proper implementation of laws result in prosperity and progress of the individuals, the society and the nation on whole. However, when it comes to practical aspect, all the laws framed for the benefits of the people have an alternative effect on the same.
Justice delayed is justice denied, goes the old saying. The operation of an efficient court system is crucial to the administration of justice and delays are a significant obstacle to achieving these goals. There is a relationship between justice and the time consumed in rendering justice. If justice is not administered at the appropriate moment, what is administered then is no longer full justice, it might even be injustice. Hence, essential aspect is that justice should be rendered without any delay. Prompt justice is true justice.
If law is to serve the purpose of society, it is necessary to guard against the three enemies of efficient administration of justice: (1)delay, (2)unpredictability and (3)cost.
Laws’ delays leave the political leader, the civil servant and others in charge of running the government in effect unaccountable.
With the passage of time and increase in the inflation rate, the cost of living per head has increased a lot, also, thereby increasing the cost of litigation. The poor population, who is most of the times victims of infringement of their rights by the affluent people, due to increased cost of litigation are unable to address the problem to the judicial system. The roots of corruption are present in the ‘free legal aid’ program as well, introduced for the poor people. It is seen that the government lawyers engaged for poor people take money from the opposite party and argue case against their own client. Hence, the common people are the once who ultimately suffer in spite of the presence of adequate laws made for their benefits.
Corruption is a bane to modern society and it implies behavior on the part of officials in the public field, whether Politicians or Civil Servants, by which they improperly and unlawfully enrich themselves or those close to them and misuse the public power entrusted to them.
Ours is a major economy, but because of the handicaps of poor infrastructure and corruption, progress has been far less than what it could have been. Today, there are two levels of corruption, the first is the scams-large or small-of public funds and State activities. The second is the corruption that the common man has to face. This touches the life of ordinary citizens.
In simple parlance, bribes are asked and paid primarily for two factors:(1)to do what was a duty to do; and (2)to do what should not be done. For the former, if a citizen knew that for a refusal to do, he can go to court, seek relief and costs and maybe an inquiry and punishment, he will insist on his rights. He agrees to pay a price for it only because he has no hope of receiving justice. Therefore, the first type of corruption is able to survive because of a kind of “helplessness” that is felt by the victim on account of absence of quick judicial procedures.
Coming to the second type of corruption, it is really a case of conspiracy between the two, i.e, the give and the taker. The bribe giver here is not a victim choosing a lesser alternative. He is a conspirator and as a guilty as the bribe taker. The giver and the taker share the spoils. Both of them can enter into this ‘profitable’ partnership because they know that neither the law catch up with them nor will take away from them or their progeny what they make out of this joint venture. If either knew that the judicial procedure were swift, neither would have ventured into this trade because while calculating the chances of delay and getting away, their answer would be ‘not a risk worth taking’. Ultimately, the loser is the nation or the common man.
However, all laws are little more than words on paper if they are not enforced. We as law students and future law practitioners and interpreters of law, must ensure that society is made aware of its rights and duties. Ignorance of law is widespread. We must therefore work towards educating and empowering our people.
Attention must be paid to ensure that the judicial administration is efficient. Principles of morality and justice which are pillars of natural law should be followed to provide peace and security to the people.
The present law students are the hope of every country, and it is their duty to realize the need of the hour, give priority to the nation work accordingly.
# Mohan Arun, “Justice, Courts and Delays”.
# 1996-10 SCC 104,’16.
# The Hindu, Bangalore Edn., 5th June, 2010
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