The concept of justice is as old as the origin and growth of human society. A man living in society desires peace and, while living in he tends to experience a conflict of interests and expects a rightful conduct on the others part. And this is why jurists like Salmond and Roscoe Pound have emphasized the importance of justice.
Through the instrumentality of law regulated by the state, the concept of justice became more clear. As the law grew and developed the concept of justice walked parallel and expanded its tentacles into different spheres of human activities.
The essence of legal justice lies in ensuring uniformity and certainty of law and at the same time ensuring the rights and duties duly respected by all. The notion of justice is the impartiality imbibed in it. The violation of justice which is enforced by the law results in state sanction as ‘punishment’.
In the words of Chief Justice Coke it has been rightly said that ‘wisdom of law and justice is wiser than man’s wisdom,’ thereby legal justice represents the collective wisdom of the community which Rousseau called as ‘General Will’ of the people.
The term justice has been derived from the Latin word ‘Jungere’ which means to bind or tie together, thus in this way it can be stated as justice is the key ailment which ties the individuals in the society together and harmonizes a balance between them and enhances human relation.
In the words of jurists-
- Blackstone- “Justice is a reservoir from where the concept of right, duty, and equity evolves.”
- Salmond- “Though every man wants to be righteous and just towards him, he himself being ‘selfish’ by nature may not be reciprocal in responding justly.” According to him, some kind of external force is necessary for maintaining an orderly society, and without justice it is unthinkable.
Types of Justice
Justice represents itself in kinds mainly:-
In the words of Chief Justice, P.B. Gajendragadkar social justice means ending all kinds of social inequalities and then provide equal opportunities to all.
Commenting on social justice Mr. M.C. Chagla, the former Chief Justice of the Bombay High court observed in the case of Prakash Cotton Mills v. State of Bombay, 1957 II LLJ 490 (Bom) that “ we are no longer living in the laissez-faire….. it is true that social justice is imponderable and we asked not to introduce the principles of social justice in constructing legislation that comes for interpretation before us.
But in our opinion, no economic, social or labor legislation can be considered by the court without applying the principles of social justice in interpreting these related provisions of law.”
While in the case of State of Mysore v. Workers of Gold Mines 1958 II LLJ 479 (SC) the Supreme Court observed that the concept of social justice is a living concept of revolutionary impact: it gives substance to rule of law and meaning and significance to the idea of welfare of the state.
Thus, the concept of social justice aims to uplift the underprivileged section without unduly and unreasonably affecting the interests of the upper section of the society.
The concept of social justice finds its expression in Articles 14 (equality before law), 15 , 16 (equality of opportunity in matters of public employment) and 39 (b) and (c) [(b) ownership and control of the material resources and its equal distribution, (c) operation of the economic system not resulting to the concentration of wealth and means of production to the common detriment], of the constitution of India.
It also determines the concept of Processual Justice based on natural law which is the very basis of not only substantive law but also the remedial justice. Legal maxims like Nemo Judex In Propria Cause (no one can be a judge in his own case); Audi Altrem Partem (here the other side or party) plays a vital role.
It demands that all citizens should have adequate opportunities to earn their livelihood and get equal pay for equal work, which could substantially help them in fulfilling their basic needs.
From financial inclusion to better health care the state government should create opportunities for them by generating employment opportunities, following MNREGA, RSBY and so on.
No person or group of person should indulge themselves in exploitation and be exploited. There must be a fair and just equitable distribution of wealth and resources, and the gap between rich and poor should get abridged.
It means granting of equal political rights and opportunities to all citizens to take part in the administration of the country. The legality of the right to vote and contest election free and fairly.
It has two dimensions as the formulation of just laws and then to do justice according to it. While making laws the will of the rulers must not be used on ruled.
Laws should be based on public opinion and public needs considering the core of social values, morality and the concept of just and unjust must be considered.
It simply means rule of law and not the rule of person. Objective due dispensation of justice by the courts of law is an essential ingredient of legal justice.
The administration of justice in modern civilized societies has evolved through 4 stages:-
1. Primitive stage- when society was primitive and private revenge and self-help were only the remedies available to the wrongdoer, one could easily get the wrong redressed with the help of his friends and relatives, ‘an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth and a limb for a limb.’
2. Elementary/Infant stage- it has been considered that law and state were at infantry level during this stage, and the feeling of security as a responsibility by the state towards its individual and his property was absent. It didn’t have the enforcing power through which it could punish the wrongdoer.
3. The growth of Administration of Justice- a change was about to witness where a sought of tariff schedules were fixed for different kinds of injury and offenses. And up to that time justice mold as private in nature without the compulsive force of the state.
4. The modernization- it was the developmental stage where the state geared its authority and took upon itself the responsibility of administrating justice and punishing the wrongdoer using its force whenever necessary.
This stage owes its origin and growth to the gradual evolution of the state and its political power. And with its transformation, private revenge and self-help got substituted by the administration of criminal and civil justice through law courts.
“Men being what they are-each keen to see his own interest and passionate to follow it-society can exist only under the shelter of the State, and the law and justice of the state is a permanent and necessary condition of peace order and civilization.” (Salmond)
Driving from the words of Salmond it is clear that administration of justice means justice according to law. Physical force of the state is the sole or exclusive factor for a sound administration.
Administration of justice is the firmest pillar of government, and granting justice is said to be the ultimate end of law and the goal of society, which the judges of the courts have been pouring into law with new variants of justice in the form of contemporary values and need-based rights like freedom, liberty, dignity, equality and social justice as ordained in the constitutional document. Access to justice for the people is the foundation of the constitution. [State of Haryana v. Darshna Devi, AIR 1979 SC 855, per Justice Krishna Iyer]