Since the beginning of time, when humans began to think freely and independently, there have been numerous subjects and terms of human discourse which still did not have a particular definition and even today consist of space for interpretations. Justice is one of them. Justice can be considered one of the most influential and significant aspects of the history of political thoughts. It has been regarded as the cornerstone of the social system. It is the basis for the coherent living of a society. Justice is synonymous with lawfulness, the absence of unreasonable actions, and a system of identical opportunities, equal privileges, and freedom for every section of society. Justice is very subjective. In certain situations what is just to me, might be not just to another person entangled in a different situation. The problem lies in the very nature of justice, there are no predetermined omnipresent principles through which one can define the term “Justice”. However, there are some embedded principles on which justice can be derived, for example, equality, fairness, impartiality, and trust.
MEANING OF JUSTICE
Justice is sometimes equated to fairness by many of the existing societal norms. However, the term justice is significant for everyone in the society but it means different to different human beings. The term justice is derived from the Latin word jus, which means righteousness and the rule of law. On the other hand, the definition of jus is so broad that it obscures the meaning of what is referred to or meant to. According to research on the word etymology of justice, the meaning of right and law that it represents is linked to the concept of restriction and obligations. Even though it has been endlessly debated, the concept of justice appears to be a more fascinating as well as contentious idea. Justice for ordinary people may be punishment for a crime, justice for a judge may be the correct interpretation of the law, and morality may be justice for a philosopher. Justice is not a static concept, but rather one that is constantly evolving. The popular conception of justice is the establishment of a society in which everyone is entitled to fairness, moral righteousness, and equality. Getting what one deserves entails doing the right thing with the right person and the wrong thing with the wrong person, such as penalizing for an unethical act. The concept of Fairness means to act toward individuals uniformly but also act toward a person in an unequal way to penalize for the past injuries done. The term “equality” refers to the “state of being equal.” It is one of the yardsticks of a society that supports democracy, and thus the struggle for several types of equality, such as ethnic equality, gender equality, or equality of opportunity between rich and penniless, is usually associated with the advancement toward that ideal of everyone being truly equal.
THE IDEA OF JUSTICE BY VARIOUS POLITICAL THINKERS
Plato – For Plato, justice is both an aspect of human virtue and the connection that binds men together in society. It is a virtue that makes a man good and social. Justice is an order and responsibility of the parts of the soul; it is as important to the soul as health is to the body. According to Plato, justice is a moral concept rather than a legal one.
Aristotle – According to Aristotle, justice is comprised of what is legal and fair, whereas fairness refers to the unbiased distribution and the faultlessness of what is unequal. Justice is no less important to him, as he regards it as the very virtue of the state. It is justice that creates a state, gives it a vision, and, when combined with ethics, propels the state to the pinnacle of all ethical values.
Rawls – Rawls claimed that equal distribution of resources should be the preferred state of nature, rather than utilitarian philosophies. Every individual has an equal right to basic rights, according to his Theory of Justice, and they should have the same opportunities and chances as other people of similar skills.
Salmond- Justice means to distribute the due share to everybody.
Cephalus – He was a spokesperson of the bygone trading class’s conventional morality, and he laid the foundation of the traditional theory of justice. According to him ‘justice consists in speaking the truth and paying one’s debt’. As a result, Cephalus associates justice with moral behavior.
Aquinas – He advocated for a justice system based on pro-rata mutuality. That is, each righteous person provides to others what they are owed in proportion to their responsibilities. This will not be the same for everyone, and your obligations to them will be founded on both civil and moral law.
KINDS OF JUSTICE
They emphasize the concept of justice in the theories of various philosophers. Justice and its salient features are being virtuous and political, but as such, there isn’t any universally accepted definition. The concept of justice is determined by a particular situation and the prevailing laws of that period.
Natural Justice: The term “natural justice” refers to the inherent attribute of being unbiased, implicating what is right and wrong. Natural justice is a concept of common law that derives from the Latin phrase “Jus Natural,” which means “natural law.”
Economic Justice: Economic justice is founded on the socialist state ideology. It advocates for equal economic ideals, opportunities, and rights for all, as well as the ban on economic discrimination between men and women. Political Justice: In a society where everyone has equal political rights, political justice prevails. The state should establish political justice by creating conditions in which all citizens, including minorities, can exercise their political rights by a system of universal adult suffrage and the rule of law. Social Justice-
“Social justice is the belief that all people are entitled to equal economic, political, and social rights and opportunities.” “The goal of social justice is to provide access and opportunity to everyone, especially those in greatest need.”
IMPORTANCE OF JUSTICE
Justice is the most significant and widely debated goal of the state and society. Almost all political theories of the ideal state presented by various philosophers were based on the concept of justice. Appeals are made in the name of Justice to defend or oppose any government’s or any other authority policy, law, or rule. Indeed, justice is so central to our society that every civil rights moment is a crucial movement for justice. One of the most important moral values in the fields of law and politics is justice. Legal and political systems cannot maintain desirable law and order unless justice is also achieved. concept of justice expanded over the years. People can’t imagine having a good life without it. It protects and ensures people from various forms of societal discrimination.
“Justice” is not rooted in a legal system but a utopian vision or considered to be an ideal aspiration. Justice is a concept that evolves. Justice, as well as fairness, moral righteousness, and equality, are all terms used in popular culture to describe receiving what one deserves. Because of Rawls’ influence, the phrase “justice as fairness” has become a famous expression in social science disciplines. It also serves as a full explanation of the concept of justice. It’s tough to define justice because of its nature.
Author’s Name: Keshav Kulshrestha (Institute of Law, Nirma University, Ahmedabad)