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Justice And Its Theories An Overview

Man has been continuously struggling for the maintenance of justice. In democratic systems, justice is given the highest place. The word justice is derived from the latin word jus which means to bind' to contract. The Greek word for justice is Dike. Its gives the meaning of nearer to righteousness. Justice means following of norms (customs). Justice stands for just conduct, fairness or exercise of authority in maintenance or right.

Concept of justice is as old as the political theory itself. Different interpretations are given to justice from time to time. Some writers regard justice as virtue while others hold it for equality' Some consider it as rule of law'. Justice is not onlyan integral part of political science, but also of ethics, law, philosophy, etc.

Major concept of justice
In the history of ideas, there are two majors concepts of justice. They are:
  1. Numerical concept of justice -Its gives equal share to all. The Greek city states took the rule so far that many offices were filled by lot. The holding of an office did not call for any special knowledge or qualification. this concept is expressed by Jeremy Bentham as Everyone is to count for one, nobody for more than one.
  2. Geometrical concept of justice – It is a concept of proportionate equality. Its means equal share to equal and unequal to unequals. it means that distribution of power and patronage should be proportionate to worth or contribution of the individual. Pluto and Aristotle favour this.

Implications of justice

The concept of justice has the following implications:

  1. It requires a just state of affaires
  2. It is aligned with the condition of morality
  3. It carries the sense of proper distribution of favour and losses and
  4. It normally prevails in a non-democratic set up as exception

Development Of Justice

In the primitive society, the basis objective f justice was to inflict punishment on the offenders of a crime. The punishment was very serve.An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth was part of the administration of justice. the objective was to prevent the future crimes. Hence, the nature of jusice in the primitive was purely negative.It is based on conventional morality or tradition or custom.

The political philosophers beginning from Plato (427 BC-347 BC) right up to the twenty-first century, the theory has been defined in various ways.
Plato, the father of political philosophy, in his THE REPUBLIC defined justice as one of functional specialization. He was of was opinion of justice was ethical or philosophical and not based on conventional morality. An individual render of justice if he performed his duties for Which he was fitted and trained for.
Plato, further, viewed as a quality of the soul and habit of mind and aimed at an organic society. plato regarded justice as the supreme virtue.

Plato's Theory of justice

Having reviewed the traditional theories of justice, plato propounded his theory of justice as given below:
Plato opined that justice was something internal, justice exists in the individual and in the state. Justice was the bond which held a society together. It provides a pleasant union of individuals in accordance with one's natural fitness and training. Justice was both a public and private virtue because it conserves the highest good both of the state (polis) and the members, each of whom has found his life work in accordance with his natural fitness and his training.

Plato's prima facie definition of justice implied

giving to every man his due, Pluto interpretation is opposed to that of Cephalus because the latter was talking in terms of rights while the former in terms of duties. for what is due is that he should be treated as what he is, in the light of his capacity and his training.

Plato's justice is based on three principles of society:

  1. Non interference: The state is created for mutual needs in terms of services and not of powers. No class should interfere with the task of others classes. It shall concentrate on its own sphere of duty and shall not meddle with the sphere of others.
  2. Functional specialization: Even the ruler is no exception for he has the special function to which his wisdom entitles him. There is no notion of authority or sovereign power.
  3. Harmony: human virtue according to Plato is divided into wisdom, cporage, temperature and justice. The first three he assigned on to each class. i.e, philosopher king was to arrange these matters in the most advantageous way.

Significance of plato's theory of justice:

  1. Plato's theory of justice was universal in character.
  2. Plato established a new concept of virtue which consists in the discharge of one's duty scrupulously.
  3. Plato's conception of justice provided the state with a distinct will and a personality of its own having its independent existence apart its members.
  4. Plato revolt against the political selfishness and ignorance prevalent in the Athenians society through his conception of justice.
  5. Plato theory of justice gave birth to the organic theory of the state.
  6. Plato's conception of justice established that the state is a whole, and it must enforce upon the individual that fact it is, by treating him as a factor and fractions of it's

Aristotle'S Views On Distributive Justice

Aristotle (384-322 B.C )
Aristotle was born at Stagira, a great colonial town on the Macedonian coast in 384 B.C. His father was Nichomachus, a court physician.
Aristotle while discussing justice distinguishes complete or universal justice from particular justice.

Complete and universal justice: Complete justice is identifiable with moral virtue, i.e, obedience to law. The moral virtue regulates all public and social relation among men. Complete justice is such as exists people who are associated in common life with a view to self –sufficiency and enjoy freedom and equality.

Particular justice: particular justice, on the other hand lies in the observance of rules of proportionate equality. particular justice exists Iin particular from governments.such as oligarchy democracy.

Types of Justice

1. Social Justice:

In contemporary times a large number of scholars use prefer to describe the concept of Justice as Social Justice. Social Justice is taken to mean that all the people in a society are to be equal and there is be no discrimination on the basis of religion, caste, creed, colour, sex or status.

However, various scholars explain the concept of Social Justice in different ways. Some hold that social justice is to allot to each individual his or her due share in the social sphere. According to some others, distribution of social facilities and rights on the basis of law and justice constitutes social justice.

What is Social Justice?

Social justice is another name for equal social rights. Social Justice aims to provide equal opportunities to every individual to develop his inherent qualities.-Barker
By social justice we mean ending all kinds of social inequalities and then to provide equal opportunities to everyone.-C.JP.B. Gajendragadkar

Social democrats and modern liberal thinkers define social justice as the attempt to reconstruct the social order in accordance with moral principles. Attempts are to be continuously made to rectify social injustice. It also stands for a morally just and defensible system of distribution of reward and obligations in society without any discrimination or injustice against any person or class of persons.

In the Indian Constitution several provisions have been provided with a view to secure social economic and political justice. Untouchability has been constitutionally abolished. Every citizen has been granted an equal right of access to any public place, place of worship and use of places of entertainment.

The state cannot discriminate between citizens on the basis of birth, caste, colour, creed, sex, faith or title or status or any of these. Untouchability and apartheid are against the spirit of social justice. Absence of privileged classes in society is an essential attribute of social justice.

2. Economic Justice:

Economic Justice is indeed closely related to social justice because economic system is always an integral part of the social system. Economic rights and opportunities available to an individual are always a part of the entire social system.

Economic justice demands that all citizens should have adequate opportunities to earn their livelihood and get fair wages as can enable they to satisfy their basic needs and help them to develop further. The state should provide them economic security during illness, old age and in the event of a disability.

No person or group or class should be in a position to exploit others, nor get exploited. There should be fair and equitable distribution of wealth and resources among all the people. The gap between the rich and the poor should not be glaring. The fruits of prosperity must reach all the people.

There are present several different views regarding the meaning of economic justice. The liberals consider open competition as just and they support private property. On the other hand, the socialists seek to establish complete control of society upon the entire economic system.They oppose private property. Whatever be the ideology or the system, one thing is clear and that is that all citizens must be provided with basis necessities of life.All citizens must have their basis needs of life fulfilled (Food, clothing, shelter, education, health and so on.)

3. Political Justice:

Political justice means giving equal political rights and opportunities to all citizens to take part in the administration of the country. Citizens should have the right to vote without any discrimination on the basis of religion, colour, caste, creed, sex, birth or status. Every citizen should have an equal right to vote and to contest elections.

Legal justice has two dimensions-the formulation of just laws and then to do justice according to the laws. While making laws, the will of the rulers is not to be imposed upon the ruled. Laws should be based on public opinion and public needs. Social values, morality, conventions, the idea of just and unjust must be always kept in view.

When the laws do not meet the social values and rules of morality, citizens neither really accept nor abide by laws. In this situation, the enforcement of laws becomes a problem. Laws are just only when these are accepted not out of fear of external power but when inspired by internal feeling for the laws being good, just and reasonable.

4. Legal Justice:

Legal Justice means rule of law and not rule of any person. It includes two things: that all men are equal before law, and that law is equally applicable to all. It provides legal security to all. Law does not discriminate between the rich and the poor. Objective and due dispensation of justice by the courts of law is an essential ingredient of legal justice.

The legal procedure has to be simple, quick, fair, inexpensive and efficient. There should be effective machinery for preventing unlawful actions. The aim of law is the establishment of what is legitimate; provide legal security, and prevention of unjust actions. -Salmond.

Thus, Justice has four major dimensions: Social Justice, Economic Justice, Political Justice and Legal Justice. All these forms are totally inter-related and inter­dependent. Justice is real only when it exists in all these four dimensions. Without Social and Economic Justice there can be no real Political and Legal Justice.

Written By : Ritika Gupta

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