Question – What do you understand by the word “justice” mentioned in the Preamble of the Indian Constitution? Present the details of the steps taken along with the given constitutional by-laws. – 10 August 2021
The word “justice” is found only at a few places throughout the Constitution such as the Preamble, Article-38, Article-39A and Article-142.
On the one hand the object of Article-38 is to promote a social order in which justice, social, economic and political, shall inform all the institutions of the nation as enshrined in the Preamble.Article 39A, on the other hand, seeks that the operation of the legal system shall promote justice, on a basis of equal opportunity, and in particular, by suitable legislation or schemes or in any other manner, shall provide free legal aid, and to ensure that opportunities for access to justice are not denied to any citizen because of economic or other disabilities.Further, linking Article 38 to Article 142, serves as an enabling provision, empowering the Apex Court to pass any order or decree for the purpose of doing complete justice in any cause or matter. However, as per these provisions it is not clear what is meant by justice.
- Social justice means that, all citizens in the society should be treated equally without any discrimination on the basis of caste, colour, creed, race, religion, sex etc. It seeks to create a more equitable society based on equal social status.
- Economic justice envisages the eradication of poverty by the multiplication of national wealth and wealth and their equitable distribution. It tries to establish economic democracy and create a ‘welfare state’.
- Political justice demands that all citizens should have equal political rights in terms of participation in the process of governance of the society/country.
Constitutional Provisions:Fundamental Rights:
- Right to equality under Article 14, 15, 16, 17 and18.
- Under Article 24, no child below the age of 14 years shall be employed to work in any factory or mine.
Directive Principles of State Policy:
This includes provisions for the welfare of the people including free legal aid, right to work and public assistance in case of unemployment, old age, sickness and disability under Articles 39A and 41 respectively.
- Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989
- Right of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016
- Forest Rights Act, 2006 etc.
Steps have been taken to address inequalities in opportunity, income and wages to ensure economic justice, such as:
Fundamental Rights: Under the recently added Article 15(6) and 16(6), the state can make special provisions for the advancement of any economically weaker section of the citizens.
Directive Principles of Policy: Right to adequate means of livelihood under various Articles 39, 42 and 43, restrictions on concentration of assets; Equal pay for equal work, provision of fair and humane working conditions and secure living wage.
- Gradual taxation through budget passed by the legislature every year.
- Mahatma Gandhi National Employment Guarantee Act, 2005
- Article 326: Elections to the Union and State Legislative Assemblies shall be on the basis of adult suffrage.
- Articles 243D, 243T, 330 and 332 provide for reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in Panchayats, Municipalities, Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies.
- Representation of the People Act, 1950 and 1951 for holding regular elections
- Legal Services Authority Act, 1987 to provide free legal services to deserving candidates
The Constitution also provides for the enforcement of fundamental and legal rights under Articles 32 and 226 respectively. These provisions play a vital role in the matter of accommodating the interests of all sections of the society and ensuring justice for all, which was the dream of our constitution-makers.