To understand the relationship between Law and Morality, it is first
necessary to understand what the terms Law
is not something that can be read and taken literally. The school of natural law
interpreted law in relation to morality by using the term morality. It focused
on what should be the rule rather than what is currently the law. They argued
that law should be interpreted in terms of faith, morality, liberty, justice,
and conscience, rather than merely in terms of the law.
However, positivism characterised law as stressing that it is only subject to
our own experiences. There is no connection between morality and the law. The
law is the coming of the Sovereign that can be enforced through punishment.
Morality is a collection of principles that allow people to live together in
communities. It's what societies deem right
Morality isn't set in stone. What you consider appropriate in your culture will
not be acceptable in another. Morals are influenced by geographical areas,
faith, family, and life experiences.
Difference between Law and Morality
There was no difference between law and morality in Ancient Societies. They were
both thought to be the same person. With the arrival of the Middle Ages, faith
provided a spiritual foundation for the law. Modern philosophers in the
post-Reformation period stressed the contrast between law and morality.
The following are some of the differences between law and morality:
- Law is concerned with a person's individual liberty, while morality is
concerned with collective conceptions of what is good and evil.
- Law governs a man's behaviour when he is a member of a particular
society, whereas morals govern a man's behaviour even when he is alone.
- Laws consider a man's outward behaviour, while morals consider factors
such as inner resolve and willpower direction.
- Law is imposed by "external coercion," while values appeal to an
individual's free will.
Case laws on Law and Morality
- Queen vs. Dudley and Stephen's Case 
For many days, the defendants, Dudley and Stephens, as well as two other
gentlemen, Mr. Brooks and the survivor, Richard Parker, sat on the boat.
When it became clear that everyone would perish from thirst and hunger, the
defendants agreed to kill Parker for the sake of the others. A man who kills
another to eat his flesh in order to escape hunger death is guilty of
murder; however, he is in such circumstances at the time of the act that he
believes and has fair reasons to believe that it is the only way to save his
Judgment of the case: In this case, the court held that one person cannot
sacrifice another person's life to save his or her own. And on these facts,
there was no evidence of any necessity that could justify the prisoners in
killing the boy and they were guilty of murder. It becomes very much clear
by the decision in this case that what appeared to be morally right from the
eyes of the defendants was considered as a crime in the eyes of the law.
- Oppenheimer v Cattermole 
He lost his German citizenship and was liable to pay taxes under German law
1913, "When there were no problems of the countries being at war," which
claimed that a German lost their German nationality if they obtained a
foreign nationality without permission.
Relationship between Law and Morality:
While law is a subject of study in Political Science and morality is a subject
of study in Ethics, the two have a close relationship. Law and morality are
mutually reinforcing. People are taught the code of conduct by ethics. It
demonstrates the difference between fact and deception. It makes us aware of our
acts' wrongness and rightness. Ethics allows us to think morally and improves
our moral standing. It aids in the creation of our moral standards. The same
goal is pursued by state-enacted legislation.
The overarching goal of the state is to promote people's well-being. Individuals
can also benefit from political science in order to become better people. An
individual can only become an ideal citizen if he adheres to the morality code
of conduct. As a result, there is a strong connection between law and morality.
And when a state functions under ideal moral rules can it be called an ideal
state. The foundation of ideal laws is morality. It would aid the emergency of
an ideal state if the state works under ideal laws based on morality.
For example, moral laws are those enacted with the aim of eliminating evils and
malpractices such as wine drinking, gambling, theft, dacoity, and murder. They
arouse spiritual feelings in us and help us develop as humans. Only such morally
based rules are everlasting. Progress is impossible to achieve in a society
ruled by moral principles. In a state where crime is promoted, people will be
too preoccupied with committing crimes to think about their own success. As a
result, they will return to their natural state of savagery.
Citizens who live in a bad state will be bad, while citizens who live in a good
state will be good. As a result, the state bears full responsibility for
upholding a high moral standard.
Adopting a discrimination policy based on caste and creed, colour and race,
clans and tribes, communities and classes is almost a sin. Generally, laws are
the image of morality. In most democracies, there is no such rule as opposed to
morality. Wilson is right in his observation that a state's law is the product
of the creation of morality within the state.
This is why the sovereign law-making authority pays close attention to the code
of law-morality intimacy, which states that "the line between the illegal and
immoral is blurry." Both public sentiment and attitudes are influenced by the
state and legislation; law, in turn, represents public opinion and therefore
serves as a barometer of moral change.
Critical analysis of the relationship between law and morality:
Whatever the various schools of jurisprudence have to say about the relationship
between law and morality, it is clear that law and morality are relevant at
different levels of practise. That is, when moral considerations must be added
to a statute, morality often refers to that situation. It is obvious that
whether the legislation is founded on morality or not, it achieves the maximum
process for social change in order to achieve the law's main goal.
Those who follow the law often argue that it should be linked to morality, and
sometimes they do so without making such a statement. The spread of the Covid 19
virus, for example, resulted in the imposition of travel laws in each state,
preventing several religious festivals from being observed. People, on the other
hand, respected the law and could not claim that they did so out of fear of
retribution. In any case, it achieves the aim of social advancement.
According to sociological jurisprudence, the law must evolve to meet the needs
of society. Many states have developed new legal principles based on that
definition, some of which are linked to morality and others which are not. Law,
on the other hand, nurtures culture and society nurtures law in modern society.
As a result, morality has some bearing on the law.
Sometimes it has to be ignored if it is an impediment to progressive law in the
analysis of moral matters. For example in a landmark judgment Navtej Singh
Johar v. Union of India
, confirming the rights of homosexuals was issued,
stating that love is love itself.
While there are religious and moral objections to this, the court upheld a
long-standing legal status for social change. As a result, it is clear that the
relationship between law and morality is complex, but it is nevertheless an
essential feature of law. "He is the most intelligent animal in the world when
separated by law and justice," Aristotle writes, "but man is the worst animal in
the world when separated by law and justice." Consequently, whether or not it
applies to morals, the rule must be for full justice.
Human behaviour is regulated by moral values or man-made law in either case.
They should be progressive in nature and possess the ability to distinguish
between right and wrong.
Individuals' basic needs should not be harmed by any form of legislation. The
law is a tool for efficiently enforcing moral values. Morality is an internal
concept, while the law is external; if someone does not follow morality in his
actions, there will be no consequences; but, if someone disobeys the law, there
will be consequences.
Written By: Manglam Srivastava
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- Student of Aligarh Muslim University