Social Justice: Constitution of India

The author observes that crime rate increases with increase in the proximity of disparity between different class of people, may it be, the rich and the poor, upper caste and lower caste and the like. Thereby, in order to bring down the world to peace, the proximity of these disparities must be as low as possible. State’s foremost duty is to protect its subject from crimes, herein in order to reduce crime it become necessary for the state to keep a check on the rate of increase of crime. The author contends that the crime rates are directly proportional to the social disparities, the more the disparity among people the more the crime. As the reasons for these crimes are greed jealousy, anger, frustration, selfishness which derives its roots from these social disparities. 

Social justice is not explicitly defined in the Constitution of India, although it was the ultimate goal. State’s foremost duty is to protect its subject from crimes, herein in order to reduce crime it become necessary for the state. The  term denotes the social equality of citizens with no distinction based upon caste, creed, color, religion, sex, race, etc. This is bedrock of the Constitution of India. The concept of social justice under constitution is practically wider and circumscribes economical and social justice.  The constitution promises social, economical, and political justice, to the citizens of India in order to ensure unity of the country.

Realistically, social disparities cannot be avoided in a society like India’s. There are noticeable disparities economically and the social disparities in general also cannot be overlooked. In the case of D.S. Nakara v. Union of India,[1] the Hon’ble Supreme Court propounded the aim of a socialist state, which was to eliminate the social inequalities with respect to standards of life, status and income.

Provisions under Constitution promoting Social Justice

After the independence there was still a huge inequality gap in India. But to bridge that river of inequality on numerous issues, the makers of constitution co-centered the thought of independent India on the foundation of social justice. With this view Article 15, 15(4), 16(4), 17 and many more were included, the 42nd Amendment in 1976 introduced Article 39 A to ensure legal aid and assistance to the poor. Words like “Socialist” and “Secular” were inserted with this amendment to promote the ideology of social welfare state.[2]

The preambles itself fortifies the very concept of equality which fairly indicates exclusion of extraordinary privileges to any sect of society, and that the opportunities be available to each citizen equally. The constitution also provides for reservation to uplift the lower castes like SCs, STs, or OBCs. The Directive Principles of State Policy also encourages social justice, since it is duty of the State to abolish the social disparity in India. Furthermore, in case of Minerva Mills, Hon’ble Supreme Court interpreted that Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles should be balance to attain social justice.[3] Although in a society, where a variety of people reside with a variety of needs and opportunities, reasonable opportunity can be provide to the ones who need. In the case of Uttar Pradesh vs. Pradeep Tandon,[4] the Apex Court also accepted the reasonable classification being justified on the basis of unequal behavior between unequal people.

The judiciary has played a vital role in contouring principles of social justice and ushering the path of judicial pronouncements with social justice. Judiciary positively looks forward towards restoration of social justice in India. The government with the assistance of judiciary, been able to provide distributive justice and compensatory justice, with the perspective that justice circumscribes all classes of the society. Judiciary has given practicality to the view of social justice. 

Uplifting Backward Sections of Society

In accordance with Article 46, state shall promote the interests of weaker sections, like educational or economical interests. It shall fortify them from exploitation and social injustices. In the case of Indra Sahni v. Union of India,[5] Hon’ble Supreme Court proclaimed that under central services, 27% reservations are legal for socially and economically backward classes of the society. It also declared that social justice is a vital step towards coping the inequality confronted by tribals, dalits, poor, and other deprived sections of the society.[6]

The constitution itself provides articles and principles for the social dignity, equality as well as justice; these are the bricks of the mansion of social democracy in India. Laws made are and should be in accordance with the principles established by the Constitution of India, and be in interest of all sections of the society. Article 41 fortifies people’s right to work, leading to which no person would be deprived off from earning their daily breads. Adding to that right to education and right of public assistance is also fortified in cases involving disability, old age, sickness, etc. There are huge number of provisions in Constitution promoting and balancing the interests of backward classes to uplift them, either educationally, economically, socially, at place of work, supporting their social disabilities, and many.

Challenges Towards Attaining Social Justice and Remedies Regarding It

In any kind of society minor inequalities are part of nature and survival, but there are prodigious social disparities in context of Indian Society. Social injustice is not only social inequality of castes, creed, color, race, it furthermore includes the large amount of population below poverty line, women still being illiterate, children earning wages instead of obtaining education, people not being able to afford basic living standards, and what not.[7] The ground reality is different from the theories given in books, or on internet.

People are in need of protection of their human rights as well as civil rights, so do the notion of social justice. There are no special magic remedies to be provided to achieve social justice as it is conveyed by Indian Constitution. But if the citizens and government form compatibility to follow the norms and principles set forth by Constitution, then there are affirmative probabilities of social justice in future. The foremost step would be balanced execution of governmental policies and provisions of Constitution. Conditions like poverty can be eradicated with working on small chunk of people at a time. Progressive inclination towards acting on principles rather than vociferating would do the job effectively in restoring the justice socially in India.

Conclusion

Although there has been undeniable progress towards attaining social justice. The makers of Constitution of India firmly believed that India and its people would achieve social justice and there would be no discrimination between sections of society or among people in general. But since the independence the parasite kept changing its outlook, making it difficult for law makers or government to keep wheeling on the road of social justice. But legislations have been made, steps were taken, neglected sections were uplifted, citizens were provided equivalent opportunities, etc. Yet, there are more steps to be taken; more people are needed to be encouraged towards equality and justice for all.

The concept of social justice, receives a huge support pillar of Indian Judiciary, it has kept alive the principles of constitution. Judiciary has delivered an optimistic interpretation of the concept through provisions of Constitution.[8] The judiciary, government, and all citizens together can construct a better society with equal justice for all. Constitutional provisions like article 15, 16, 21, 38, 42, and many more, hold the power to eliminate all inequalities if assimilated well. Challenges are to be confronted with an iron core. However, solutions to those shall be thoughtful and accepted by the victims of social injustice. Apart from that solutions shall be on basis of actuality of the condition, not only through the theories, books and data.


[1] D.S. Nakara v. Union of India, 1983(1) SCC305

[2] The 42nd Constitutional (Amendment) Act, 1976

[3] Minerva Mills v. Union of India, AIR 1980 SC 1789.

[4] Uttar Pradesh v. Pradeep Tandon, AIR 1975 SC 563.

[5] Indra Sahni v. Union of India, AIR 1993 SC 497.

[6] Social Justice and Indian Constitution, Dr. Saroj Bohra, IJLLJS, Issue 1 Vol. 2, http://ijlljs.in/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/D04.pdf

[7] Concept of Social Justice, Rajat Prakash, 7 April, 2015, SSRN, https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2589869.

[8] Constitution of India and Social Justice, Mohit Sharma, IJSDR, May, 2017, https://www.ijsdr.org/papers/IJSDR1705049.pdf.


Author: Isha Singh from Indore Institute of Law.


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