In addition to the source of authority of the Indian Constitution (hereinafter- the Constitution) and the nature of the Indian State, both of which have already been dealt with by this author in his previous articles, the preamble of the Constitution also acquaints us with the objectives and socio-economic goals that are to be imbibed by the Indian State. These objectives are meant to secure to all the Indian citizens:
Justice, social, economic and political;
Liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
Equality of status and of opportunity;
to promote amongst them all Fraternity, assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the nation.
As per Krishna Iyer J., this is simply translation of freedom to its creative fullness, afterall Injustice, Inequality and Indignity can only unfree men. This description by Justice Iyer is so legendary and rich that it makes this author question as to what more could literally be added after mentioning it? But still.
Justice- social, economic and political- is the lone objective expressly enshrined in the Constitution under Article 38. As regards meaning, it would be dealt by a separate piece since it is, perhaps, the most open-ended value-concept that this author has ever come across. Yet quoting the Romans would neatly serve the purpose:
Justice is the constant and perpetual will to render each his due.Render dues= give one “what he deserves”.
The central consideration behind justice dispensation is attainment of collective good as opposed to the individual good. Justice is naturally dovetailed with freedom– where there is injustice, men are unfree. Krishna Iyer J., also warns the people about mareecha justice that only leads to exploitative freedom or freedom with quotation marks. Mareecha justice is simply camouflaged injustice. An hypothetical example would most likely simplify this description. Suppose if the King permits the lion to move freely in his jungle alongside the deers. Very soon, there will be no deers left. The King might think that he is supposedly administering justice but it only attains individual good for the lion and not the collective good for rest of the animals. The justice that is being administered here is mareecha justice that does give freedom but only to the lion for exploitation of the others. And this exploitative freedom given to the lion would unfree the rest in the jungle. Quoting Anatole France would, again, neatly serve the purpose:
So long as society is founded on injustice, the function of the laws will be to defend and sustain injustice.Anatole France
And so he puts forth the suggestion that justice is the means by which the established injustices must be sanctioned. Greats have cried for centuries that a system built on the foundation of injustice is bound to crumble. And there are a great many manifestations as one looks through the history books.
Krishna Iyer J., visualised social justice as a generous concept which assures to every member of society a fair deal. Hegde J., defined the same as sum total of Directive principles (Part-IV). Justice Gajendragadkar’s concept of social justice was a blend of both social justice and economic justice which seeks to reduce income inequality and afford equal opportunity and economic activities to all the citizens. His concept of social justice, when read with Justice Hari Swaroop’s concept of economic justice, can be understood to mean alleviation of poverty, adequate livelihood and guarantee of a living wage to ensure a decent life standard. Hari Swarup J., suggested that economic justice was meant for upliftment of backward classes and giving them more or less the same standards as other citizens. As per Gandhi ji economic justice will ensure that no one in this nation suffers from want of food & clothings. So far as regards Political justice, it ensures that the participation of citizens in political process is not halted by any sort of discrimination. Right of equal political participation to the citizens is very imperative as it ensures the representative character of the government. Article 326, which ensures universal adult franchise, is one of the many manifestations of political justice.
Liberty, equality and fraternity are the watchwords of French Revolution. Liberty includes liberty of thoughts, expressions, belief, faith, and worship. These are ensured by Articles 19(1)(a) and 25. The said watchword needs no emphasis whatsoever inasmuch Justice Krishna Iyer suggested that the internal Yoga of Liberty and Justice is basic to swaraj. Robert G. Ingersoll points that a government founded upon anything except liberty and justice cannot stand. Equality includes equality of status and of opportunity. As regards meaning, it is nothing but a standardisation. This is what Article 14 means when it guarantees to the people equality before law and equal protection of law. Article 16 of the Constitution guarantees to the citizens equality of opportunity, Articles 15, 17, 18, 23 and all the other cognate provisions guarantee equality of status. Justice cannot sustain and proliferate in a system where there is inequality. Aristotle has a point: “to be just is to be equal, to be unjust is to be unequal.” Aforementioned provisions also promote fraternity, which simply means viewing the society as brotherhood. Dr. Ambedkar kept ‘fraternity’ at highest regards as he suggested, during the Constituent Assembly debates, that without fraternity, liberty and equality are no better than coats of paints. Going by the idea of Ronald Dworkin, assurance of the dignity of the individual signifies that an individual shall be free to decide, for himself/herself, the notion of a good life and thus live his/her life accordingly. All the aforesaid provisions and numerous rights granted to the prisoners and undertrials under Article 21, thus, assure the dignity of the individual. Article 21 is, indeed, nothing but an expressed realization of the said assurance. Similarly, arrangement of non-sectarian citizenship, accomodation of interest of cultural, linguistic and religious minorities under Articles 29 and 30 and special, transitional and temporary provisions under Part XXI of the Constitution etc. strengthen the unity and integrity of the nation. One saying of Granville Austin that this author considers very imperative to mention at this point is that the connotation of the terms unity and integrity as viewed by the founding fathers of the Constitution is different altogether to how it is viewed in countries like Russia and China. A society can simply not be united and integrated through coercive methods. Unity does not mean breaking boundaries through compulsion.
You see the kernel of all these objectives is freedom as pointed by Justice Krishna Iyer. To truncate justice, liberty, equality and fraternity would mean to truncate freedom. It would mean that the men at large would be unfree and they would be silenced by the few having exploitative freedom. It would mean that the lion-like proprietariats will always hunt the deer-like proletariats. It would, indeed, mean that the rule of law would be eclipsed by the rule of men.