The idea of Law and Justice is always misinterpreted, misunderstood, and confused by many people. Both are somehow similar and interconnected with each other in several ways. But at the same time, they don’t share the idea of being similar and identical. Then, what is Law? What is Justice? How are they different from each other? Do they share any similarities? Are they really interconnected with each other? To know the answer to these questions, we first need to understand the actual meaning of law and justice.
WHAT IS LAW?
The word “Law” has been derived from the Teutonic word ‘lag, which is ‘definite’.Law doesn’t have any specific definition. But in simple words, Law refers to the system or body of rules and regulations which are created and enforced by the governmental authorities to regulate the actions of the citizens and of the government. Each law is a rule and a binding created by governmental authorities. If the laws get violated by anyone, then that person will be punished by the state as per the law. Every country has its own laws. So, the definition and rules of law vary from place to place. An action that is a crime in a country as per law can be a right in another country as per law. But laws must be obeyed by every citizen of every country. There are different types of laws in each different country. Within the structure of the Indian judicial system, a hybrid legal system with a mixture of civil, common law, and customary, criminal law and religious law are maintained within the legal framework.
WHAT IS JUSTICE?
The word “Justice” has been derived from the Latin word ‘jus, which is ‘to bind’ together. It gives the idea of righteousness. Justice is referred to as the exercise of a certain authority that maintains the idea of fairness, equality, and righteousness. Justice is totally based on the concept of ethics and morality. Justice is served by the courts of every country by using their own laws. Every single verdict in the court has to be legally and morally fair and just. Justice is an important part of the law, that directs the laws to be impartial, equal, and honest to each individual. It doesn’t matter from which belief, region, and caste they belong, or what is their gender and skin complexion. Justice must be served to everyone. There should not be any discrimination based on religion, gender, caste, and region.
In every country, Justice is often represented by a blindfolded lady with a set of scales in her hand. It is known as the “Lady Justice”. Often in many countries like the USA, a sword is also seen in her other hand. The blindfold on the lady’s eye represents that she cannot be influenced by any person who is being judged. Thus, she does not fall prey to prejudice or corruption. While the scales represent the equality in weighing the claims on her each hand. The sword is represented as a symbol of the court’s coercive power. Justice is implemented with the help of courts and laws by punishing the lawbreakers. Every individual is equal in the eyes of law.
DIFFERENCE OF LAW AND JUSTICE
Law and Justice are not the same things. So, there are some basic differences between both. Law refers to the system or body of rules and regulations which are created by the governmental authorities to regulate the actions of the citizens and of the government. Whereas, Justice refers to the exercise of administration that maintains the idea of fairness, equality, and righteousness based on morals and ethics. Justice is a chaotic mass of moral principles. Laws can be modified or changed with time, but Justice is universal in nature, it can’t be changed. The Law could be a codification of do’s and don’ts and is backed by sanctions. Justice is nothing however an assessment created by the Judicial Authority in respect of dispute referred to the same. Every country has its own laws, the concept of law varies from country to country whereas, Justice almost remains the same in every country. All the Countries are divided by the law but are united by the concept of justice which consists of morality, dignity, and ethics. Law can’t help to regulate the inner domain of personal conduct; justice can. Law is created for the nation’s welfare. Whereas, Justice is based on values that are inherent to human behaviour.
SIMILARITIES OF LAW AND JUSTICE
Law and Justice are interconnected with each other which share few similarities among them. There are not so many similarities between law and justice because they are not the same thing, but they share one thing as a similarity that is “Motive”. Their main motive is to provide harmony and peace among people. Both regulate human behaviour and ensure equality among all. Both are implemented in society without any discrimination based on religion, region, caste, gender, language, and colour. Law and Justice guarantee to distribute equality among individuals without any discrimination. Both act as a norm to the society which promotes fairness, righteousness, order, and equality. Both have the power to differentiate and understand what is right and what is wrong.
INTERCONNECTION OF LAW AND JUSTICE
The relationship between both is very complex. They are two faces of the same coin. The most effective way to understand the connection between Law and Justice is that law exists to provide justice to every individual. Justice is an integral part of the law. Justice is an essential ingredient of the legal system in which the rule of law helps to enforce people’s rights. So, Justice is inseparable from the law. Both are influenced by each other. Justice acts as a spur by which laws are enacted, enforced, modified, or quashed down. Justice is a moral concept, in which law acts as a mechanism to get justice. In simple words, Justice is a goal, where law acts as a tool to achieve the goal. They both seek to treat human behaviour. Law serves as a source of ensuring justice.
Law and Justice is a wide concept. The rule of law only works in the end among people who have a sense of justice. In other words, Law can’t be separated from the virtue of Justice. The concept of Law leans on the concept of rules and regulations set up by the government. It is a concrete concept, and it is a kind of duty that must be followed by every individual. On the other hand, Justice is an idea of morality, fairness, and equality of rights. It is a more abstract concept, and it is a kind of responsibility in the hands of the judiciary or other regulating bodies that serve justice. But sometimes, Laws are not followed and respected by the people. Some laws are even imposed as being biased and partial. The entire legal system that features laws and all the alliances including the advocates and courts relies upon the idea of Justice. Law acts as a means to get justice. A valid measure of a society is how well its laws coincide with and serve justice. The duty is not to make everyone happy but is to make things fair enough for everybody, neutral to everyone without taking into consideration our very own self preferences.
Author(s) Name: Archita Sengupta (Xavier Law School, St. Xavier’s University, Kolkata)