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Time, circumstances, thoughts, values, and other things all undergo constant change because change is a natural law. As a result of society’s ties to this universal rule of change, changes are constantly occurring throughout society. As a result, anytime there is a change in a group of people’s social relationships, values, or practices, society as a whole also experiences change.

For instance, inter-caste marriages were once frowned upon but are now acceptable. Similar to this, societal ills like the caste system, sati, child marriage, and dowry were prevalent in Indian society a few years ago, but as time and education expanded, people’s perspectives radically altered, and progressive people today are committed to removing these social ills. The old practices and values are being replaced by new one’s today, and as a result, the social structure of India has also changed. Social change is defined as a change in social structures, social institutions, and social interactions. It is the alteration of peoples’ actions and thoughts.


Following are the limitations of the law in bringing social change:

  1. Traditionalism: Man is a traditionalist by nature, and he cherishes the old traditions and customs, etc., so he resists any changes that might alter these traditions and customs. Every society has traditionalist males; the only distinction is that some societies have more traditional men than others. English people are renowned for their conservatism.
  2. Religious Fundamentalism: Fundamentalism in religion also stands in the way of societal progress. Fundamentalist religion makes people lethargic and fatalist because they believe that everything that happens in life is predestined. As a result, man develops an illogical nature and continues to hold on to outdated traditions and conventions, etc.
  3. Ignorance: Because uneducated individuals become enslaved by outdated norms and traditions and cannot break free, ignorance promotes backwardness. They don’t use modern technologies to their advantage. 
  4. Caste System: Additionally impeding social progress is the caste system. The caste system divided society into classes and engendered feelings of superiority and inferiority in its victims. The speed of social, cultural, and economic advancement is slowed down as a result of the so-called higher caste members’ lack of cooperation with the lower caste members.
  5. Indolence: Another obstacle to social progress is indolence. A lazy person opposes change because it may force him to overcome his lethargy. A lazy person wants to keep going down the same old pathways because he is constantly terrified of hard effort.
  6. Vested Interests: Every community has certain vested interests in every society. Such people believe that social change may have an impact on their interests. As a result, they are always opposed to change.
  7. Desire for Stability: There are always certain people who desire to keep things stable in every society. These people are either opposed to changing the social balance, fearful of the future, or concerned that change would hurt their interests. Such people are always opposed to change and just wish to live in the present.
  8. High Cost: For social change to occur, there are times when a high price must be paid, yet many people are unwilling to pay this high price. People have frequently been harmed by social change. For instance, the cost to the people of the Russian Revolution was extremely significant. Due to the negative impact, it has on the state’s finances, prohibition has not been successful in India.
  9. Lack of new inventions: In large part, social transformations are dependent on the creation of new things, ideas, processes, tools, and plans. If people have a strong appetite for novelty, changes will occur with little resistance.
  10. Rejection or non-acceptance of new inventions: If people continue to reject new inventions, change won’t be possible. People have generally opposed new inventions more than they have welcomed them.
  11. Imperfections of new inventions: In the beginning, inventions frequently have flaws including poor performance, quick breaking, and challenging repair. Social innovations initially contain flaws as well. They can face opposition due to their shortcomings.
  12. Fear of the new: Man has a fear of the future in addition to his love of the past. People display their aversion to the unfamiliar by using novel objects, hearing novel ideas, and engaging in novel behaviors. Indians initially displayed their fear and skepticism by embracing British medicine, receiving English schooling, and traveling by sea. [1]
  13. Economic disparity and difficulty: Social change is hampered by tremendous economic hardship and widening wealth disparity. People who are experiencing a variety of economic issues are not ready to accept changes because they are either skeptical of them or are unable to do so due to their current financial situation.
  14. Intellectual laziness: People need a certain level of imagination, dynamism, and rationality to let go of the old notions and accept the new ones. People who lack these traits might not understand the significance and utility of novel concepts and products.
  15. Administrative defects: Change is also hampered by corrupt and ineffective administrative infrastructure. According to others, the administration’s bureaucratic component is conservative in outlook and a hindrance to growth and development.

Prof. Upendra Baxi listed the following factors that obstruct redistribution-oriented social change. [2] First, the political elite and upper middle class have not internalized the value of legalism. Second, a large segment of people regards rule-following not merely as unjustified but also as counterproductive. Third, there is corruption and abuse of power. Fourth, the countervailing power in the form of bandhs, strikes, and hartals introduces agitational politics or direct action politics that challenge the legal system, bring arbitrariness, disturb the synchronization between law and social policy decisions and slip away from preventive crisis management. Fifth, the convergence of political, legislative, and administrative powers has resulted in legitimating the power grabbing or sharing leaving the genuine tasks of redistribution through law unattended. Sixth, low commitment to legalism is also in response to the compulsion to satisfy the basic needs of people. The practices of child labor, prostitution, begging, child selling, and slum-dwelling are manifestations of need-propelled deviances from the law. [3]

As a result, we can conclude that because change is a natural phenomenon, the above-discussed obstacles can only temporarily halt the process of societal change. It is necessary to remove the barriers that stand in the way of social transformation since it is necessary for social advancement. Proper education should be provided, superstitions should be eliminated and periodic reform movements should be started to remove these obstacles.

Author’s Name: Dinesh Verma, (PUSSGRC, Hoshiarpur, Punjab)


[1] CN Shankar Rao, Sociology: Principles of Sociology with an Introduction to Sociological Thought, S Chand and Company Limited, 2019

[2] Upendra Baxi, The Crisis in Indian Legal System, Vikas Publishing House, New Delhi, 1981

[3] P. Ishwara Bhat, Law and Social Transformation, Eastern Book Company, 2012

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