Concept of Social Justice:
Justice is the hallmark of any civilized society. The term justice is too broad having no precise definition (Dias; 1985). The nature, form, methods and systems of justice vary depending upon the values and norms of a society. These systems of justice broadly have two approaches:
- Protective – safeguarding people against abuse and exploitation
- Promotive – creating such conditions in society as may spontaneously ensure equality, freedom, fraternity and provide special opportunities to those who for some reason lag behind and are out of the mainstream.
The term ‘justice’ is used in two senses:
- The abstract –referring to a code of conduct, legal as well as moral, which promotes people’s welfare
- The concrete –denoting the faithful implementation of existing laws Justice gives rise to a sense of duty and concern for others, as well as creates and sustains trust and confidence among people. Not only does it generate an atmosphere of peace and calmness, but it also sustains law and order thereby optimizing the personal and social functioning.
Social Justice impels to establish a just social order by favoring the removal of structural and systemic inequalities in order to ensure equalization of opportunities to weaker and vulnerable sections of society, who either because of being subjected to social suppression and oppression or being the victims of varied kinds of disabilities and handicaps, are prone to be misused and even abused and exploited. Thus, social justice, in its narrowest sense, means rectification of injustice in personal relations of people and in broader terms refer to the removal of imbalances in the political, economic and social life of people.
Social justice, according to Justice Krishna Iyer (1980), is a generous concept assuring every member of society a fair deal – remedial of injury, injustice, inadequacy or disability suffered by a member for which he is not directly responsible.
Our country is characterized by fairly widespread and serious problems of unemployment, poverty, illiteracy, ill-health, insanitation and ignorance. Our country is committed to promote welfare and justice to its people; Article 38 of the Constitution of India proclaims our commitment to promote the welfare of people by securing and protecting as effectively, a social order in which justice – social, economic and political are preserved.
The specific objectives of social justice are to:
- Ensure the ‘rule of law’
- Guarantee ‘equality of opportunity’
- Ensure special opportunities to weaker and vulnerable sections
- Ensure equality of outcome
- Prevent abuse and exploitation of weaker and vulnerable sections
- Preserve the religion and culture of minorities, providing them the necessary freedom to pursue and propagate them without endangering public order and peace.
Wherever discrimination, abuse and exploitation existed in the name of color, caste or creed, some kind of arrangement for social justice spontaneously evolved; e.g. in India, where social stratification and discrimination in the form of caste prevails, the Constitution of India assigned special privileges to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes as well as the ‘Other Backward Classes’ in the form of fundamental rights and other Constitutional safeguards.