The term ‘justice’ in the Preamble of Indian constitution embraces three distinct forms- social, economic and political, secured through various provisions of Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles. Social justice denotes the equal treatment of all citizens without any social distinction based on caste, colour, race, religion, sex and so on.
Social justice is the balance between the individual’s rights and social control ensuring of the fulfillment of the ‘legitimate’ expectation of the individual under the existing laws and to assure him benefits there under and protection in case of any violation or enrichment on his rights, consistent with the unity of the nation and needs of the society.
The Supreme Court of India regarded the concept of social justice, as a living concept of revolutionary import, it gives sustenance to the rule of law and meaning and significance to the ideal of a welfare state”. Social Justice will undoubtedly involve or require the sacrificing of some rights of Individuals in the interests of society.
Justice is not merely right determination and adjudication of disputes and enforcement of Law, but is so comprehensive in its meaning and import that it takes within its ambit the whole of political, social, juristic and moral idealism. It is so, because Justice has reference to the whole of human existence which we want to realize by our thought, will and action. The mystery of Justice cannot be unraveled by human reason, logic or language completely. It has greater appeal to human soul. Justice as reality is only fully reflected in our conscience and felt through our intuition.
Social Justice is considered to be the primary goal of a welfare state whose very existence in turn rests on the parameters of justice, the greatest contrast, however, between ancient and modern thinking about the social harmony of justice is in the changed conception of individual personality in relation of law.
Concept of Social Justice:
The concept of social justice emerged out of a process of evolution of social norms, order, law and morality. It laid emphasis upon the just action and creates intervention in the society by enforcing the rules and regulations based on the principles of social equality.
The term ‘Social-Justice’ consist by two words: one is social and second is justice. The term ‘social’ is concern with all human beings who lives in society and term ‘justice’ is related with liberty, equality and rights. Thus social justice is concerned with, to ensure liberty, provide equality and maintain individual rights to every human being of society. In other words, to securing the highest possible development of the capabilities of all members of the society may be called social justice.
The term social justice was first used in 1840 by a Sicilian priest, Luigi Taparelli d’Azeglio, and given prominence by Antonio Rosmini Serbati in La Costitutione Civile Secondo la Giustizia Sociale in 1848. The concept of social justice is a revolutionary concept which provides meaning and significance to life and makes the rule of law dynamic. When Indian society seeks to meet the challenge of socioeconomic inequality by its legislation and with the assistance of the rule of law, it seeks to achieve economic justice without any violent conflict.
The ideal of welfare state postulates unceasing pursuit of the doctrine of social justice. That is the significance and importance of the concept of social justice in the Indian context of today. ‘justice’ was used as equivalent to ‘Righteousness’, since the beginning of recorded ethical and legal history. In 1918, Karl Kautsky wrote in the Dictatorship of proletariat: “Socialism as a means to the emancipation of the proletariat without democracy is unthinkable. Socialism is for us inseparably connected with democracy. No socialism without democracy.”
The concept of social justice consists of diverse principles essential for the orderly growth and development of personality of every citizen. Social Justice is thus an integral part of justice in the generic sense. Social Justice is dynamic devise to mitigate the sufferings of the poor, weak, tribal’s’ and deprived sections of the society and to elevate them to the level of equality to live a life with dignity of persons.
Social Justice is not a simple or single idea of a society but is an essential part of complex social change to relieve the poor etc., from handicaps, penury to ward of distress and to make their life livable for greater good of the society at large. In other words, the aim of Social Justice is to attain substantial degree of social, economic and political equality, which is the legitimate expectation and constitutional goal. In a developing society like ours, stepped with unbridgeable and ever widening caps of inequality in status and of opportunity, law is a catalyst, rub icon to poor etc to reach the ladder of Social Justice.
Meaning of Social Justice:
Social justice denotes the equal treatment of all citizens without any social distinction based on caste, color, race, religion, sex and so on. It means absence of privileges being extended to any particular section of the society, and improvement in the conditions of backward classes and women. Social Justice is the foundation stone of Indian Constitution. Indian Constitution makers were well known to the use and minimalist of various principles of justice.
Social justice is a comprehensive enough to include economic justice as well as political justice, must be distinguished from both, just as component part from the whole, and distinguished.
In the border perspective, social justice deals with the regulation of wage, profits, protection of individual rights through the legal system of allocation of goods and resources. In different words social justice means availability of equal social opportunities for the development of personality to all the people in the society, without any discrimination on the basis of caste, sex or race. No one should be deprived, basis on these differences, because these are those condition which are essential for social development. Therefore, the issue of social justice is associated with social equality and individual rights.
Social justice can be made available only in a social system where the exploitation of man by man is absent, and where privileges of the few are not built upon the miseries of the many. The core element of social justice is equal social worth which required that citizens be guaranteed certain social rights as well as the civil and political rights.
The idea of social justice demands freedom, equality and other human rights to secure to greatest happiness and common good of human beings. The core concept of social justice is, ‘men are equal in their lives’, and they should enjoy equal freedom and rights in society. Thus the ‘social justice is an intrinsic virtue of society’.
Definitions of Social Justice
Social justice is defined as “promoting a just society by challenging injustice and valuing diversity.” It exists when “all people share a common humanity and therefore have a right to equitable treatment, support for their human rights, and a fair allocation of community resources.” In conditions of social justice, people are “not be discriminated against, nor their welfare and well-being constrained or prejudiced on the basis of gender, sexuality, religion, political affiliations, age, race, belief, disability, location, social class, socioeconomic circumstances, or other characteristic of background or group membership”. (Toowoomba Catholic Education, 2006).
Social justice is generally equated with the notion of equality or equal opportunity in society. Although equality is undeniably part of social justice, the meaning of social justice is actually much broader (Scherlen and Robinson, 2008). Further, “equal opportunity” and similar phrases such as “personal responsibility” have been used to diminish the prospective for realizing social justice by justifying enormous inequalities in modern society (Berry, 2005).
The international Webster new encyclopedic dictionary of the English language says ‘justice’ as equitableness, unprejudiced adjudication of conflicting interests on the basis of legal or moral principals; lawfulness; what is rightly due. The new oxford illustrated dictionary defines justice as just conduct fairness, exercise of authority in an maintenance of right, judicial proceedings, to treat fairly etc., as for the shorter oxford dictionary, justice, the quality of being(morally) just or righteous; the principle of justice dealing just conduct, integrity, rectitude.
Former chief Justice of India Gajendragadkar, the concept of social justice has dual objectives of ‘removing all inequality’ and affording equal opportunities and ‘economic activities of all the citizens. His view also emphasize to equal distribution of economic goods and opportunities.
Objectives of Social Justice:
Principles of Social Justice:
Social justice is a broader concept based on social, cultural, economical, and political status of a country. Principles are the vital bases for the formation of social justice strategies and achievement of social justice at all the levels of society.
1. The principle of human dignity
Every person regardless of race, gender, and background deserves dignity because we are made in the image and likeness of god. Dignity is a term used in moral ethical legal and political discussions to signify that a being has an innate right to be valued and receive ethical treatment. It is an extension of the Enlightment era concepts of inherent, inalienable rights. Dignity is often used in proscriptive and cautionary ways.
2. The principle of respect for human life
Every stage of life- womb to tomb- is worthy of our respect and protection. All individual human beings are presumed to be free and responsible persons and should be treated as such in proportion to their ability in the circumstances. Individuals with reduced autonomy are entitled to appropriate protection, according to the principles of subsidiary, human dignity, justice, charity, and vicarious consent.
3. The principle of rights and responsibilities
Rights: claims made on a society that help humans lead a truly human life.
Responsibilities: correspond to rights. The protection of human dignity is the foundation upon which an understanding of rights and responsibilities rests. The human person, made in God’s image and likeness, is born into a community of relationships and is social by nature. Rights and responsibilities are seen as the demands of upholding and defending human dignity in the social, economic and political spheres.
4. The principle of the common good
Social conditions that allow people to reach their full human potential, Common good consists of all the conditions of society and the goods secured by those conditions, common good presupposes respect for persons, it obligates public authorities to respect the fundamental human rights of each person. Society should allow each of its members to fulfill his or her vocation. In so far as it presupposes social welfare, the common good requires that the infrastructure of society is conducive to the social well being and development of its individual members.
5. Principle of Priority for the Poor and Vulnerable
A basic moral test of any community or society is the way in which the most vulnerable members are faring. In a society characterized by deepening divisions between rich and poor, the needs of those most at risk should be considered a priority. This principle advocates for living conditions conducive to the fulfillment of basic human needs and to promote social, economic, political, and cultural values and institutions that are compatible with the realization of social justice.
6. The principle of solidarity
We are one human family, whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic, and ideological differences. An ethic of care acknowledging our interdependence belongs in every aspect of human experience including the family, community, society and global dimensions. Solidarity highlights in a particular way the intrinsic social nature of the human person, the equality of all in dignity and rights and the common path of individuals and peoples towards an ever more committed unity.
7. The principle of stewardship
It is incumbent upon us to recognize and protect the value of all people and all resources on our planet. While rights to personal property are recognized, these rights are not unconditional and are secondary to the best interest of the common good especially in relation to the right of all individuals to meet their basic needs. Stewardship of resources is important at all levels/settings: family, community, agency, and society.
8. Principle of Subsidiary
Governance structures in all levels/settings have an imperative role to promote human dignity, protect human rights, and build the common good. While the principle of subsidiary calls for the functions of government to be performed at the lowest level possible in order to assure for self-determination and empowerment, higher levels of government have the responsibility to provide leadership and set policy in the best interest of the common good.
9. Principle of Participation
All people have a right to participate in the economic, political and cultural life of society. Social justice and human dignity require that all people be assured a minimum level of participation in the community. It is the ultimate injustice for a person or a group to be excluded unfairly.
10. Principle of Promotion of Peace
In light of the human dignity and worth of all and the ethical imperatives of solidarity and stewardship, we are called to promote peace and non-violence at all levels – within families, communities, society and globally. Peace is the fruit of justice and is dependent upon the respect and cooperation between peoples and nations.
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