Skip to content

Essays On Constitution Of India And Social Justice

Abstract

India is considered to be the largest democracy of the world, which is governed by an elaborate and detailed written constitution. The author in this research paper has elaborately discussed the scheme of social welfare as enumerated in the Indian Constitution. The Preamble of the Constitution has used the terms like “Socialist”, “Social and Economic Justice”, “Equality” etc, these terms indicate that the state would extensively involve in social welfare of people, and would try to establish an egalitarian society.

Moreover a separate chapter of Directive Principles of State Policy has been devoted towards the welfare responsibilities of the government, which lays down the norms of ideal governance for people’s welfare. It has been pointed out by the author that the current economic policies of the government, which are largely influenced by globalisation and capitalism, are not in conformity with its welfare obligations. On the one hand economy is growly very fast but its benefit is confined to 10-15% population; the rich poor divide is increasing continuously; the agriculture sector is neglected from the focus of economic development; the small scale industries have been devastated by the impact of neo-liberal policies; the regional disparities have been increased substantially. The author has stressed upon the urgent need to change the economic policies with people focussed plan both in terms of expenditure and implementation, and has provided some suggestions with special focus on development of agriculture, elimination of poverty and inequality, enforcement of corporate environmental responsibility, revival of small scale industries, and financial inclusion.

Introduction

India is considered to be a welfare state and moreover the largest democracy in the world. The people in India have been considered as the supreme authority in our country, as it is declared by the Preamble of Indian Constitution that sovereignty vests not in the Parliament but in the people of Union of India. “Social Welfare” has been (at least theoretically) at the centre of our policy making from the time of independence itself. From the “First Five Year Plan” itself Programmes and schemes have been launched related to social welfare issues as like agriculture and rural development, employment and labour welfare, healthcare, education, etc. Indeed in the initial 20-25 years in spite of scarcity of economic means the government was focussed on the welfare policies and inclusive development.

In today’s time it seems that the concept of social welfare has not been taken by the government as sincerely, as it must have. The attitude of the government is not very friendly and cooperative towards the people, and it is visible from the recent debate on the Lokpal Bill and the controversy relating to the determination of poverty line for poor people.i The government does not seem to be sincere about its responsibility towards serving the people as many scams and irregularities have come up in the central and state governments. The skewed policies relating to the expansion of capitalism, the forceful acquisition of lands from poor peasants, and neglect for the development of agriculture and rural development are making the situation worse.

Embodiment of Social Welfare Provisions in the Indian Constitution

Under the Indian Constitution the scheme for the social welfare is reflected in different provisions of the constitution. There are implicit and explicit references to the social welfare obligations of state in different provisions; we can study these provisions one by one:

Socialist State

The Preamble of the Constitution of India declares India as a “socialist” ii country, and this term itself gives a substantial proof of the existence of social welfare responsibilities of the government. The Supreme Court of India in the case of D S Nakara v. Union of India,iii made the following observation with regard to socialism-

“The principal aim of a socialist State is to eliminate inequality in income and status, and standard of life. The basic framework of socialism is to provide a decent standard of life to the working people and especially provide security from cradle to grave.”

As being a socialist state, the government is required to take steps to ensure that the minimum facilities of life are provided to every person, and there are equalities of income and material resources as far as democratically possible. A socialist state strives to achieve many ideals, some of them are-

  • Removal of inequalities in distribution of economic resources
  • Equality of opportunity for employment
  • Equal pay for equal work.
  • Elimination of exploitation of labourers
  • Maintenance of minimum level of egalitarianism
  • Establishment of a welfare state
  • Initiation of schemes relating to health, education, social security, and other such essential matters.

Social and Economic Justice

The Preamble of our Constitution uses two other concepts which create responsibilities on the state to involve actively in social welfare, namely “social” and “economic justice”. Under the concept of social justice the state is required to ensure that the dignity of socially excluded groups is not violated by the powerful,iv and they are considered on equal footing with others. It was said by the Supreme Court in the case of Consumer Education and Research Centre v. Union of Indiav

“Social justice, equality and dignity of person are corner stones of social democracy. The concept 'social justice' which the Constitution of India engrafted, consists of diverse principles essential for the orderly growth and development of personality of every citizen.”

Under economic justice it is contemplated that the state would not make any distinction among its citizens on the basis of their possession of economic resources. Economic justice also requires the state to try to narrow down the gap of resourceful and poor by distributive justice in terms of income and wealth. To achieve the ideals of social and economic welfare the state is required to involve in different social welfare schemes as like reservation for SC/ST/OBCs, MGREGA, Mid Day Meal Scheme, Sarva Sikha Abhiyan, etc.

Directive Principles of State Policy

Part IV of the Indian Constitution deals with the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSPs). These directive principles are most glaring examples of the scheme of social justice in our constitution, and these principles anticipate a lot of provisions for the welfare of people at large relating to education, environment, promotion of justice, free legal aid, living wages, protection of marginalised groups, forest and wildlife, etc.

The government is required to take all possible measures for the fulfilment of directive principles in its economic capacity. Some of the directive principles are: Ar.vi 39(a): The state shall direct its policy towards securing adequate mean of livelihood to man and woman; Ar. 39 (A): Promotion of justice, equal opportunities, and free legal aid; Ar. 41: Security of work, to education, and to public assistance in several cases; Ar. 42: Security of just and humane conditions of work; Ar. 45: Free and compulsory education to every child till the age of 14 years, etc.

Current Economic Policies and Neglect for Social Welfare

The model of globalisation was adopted in the hope that it would bring prosperity to the nation in the terms of higher production and economic growth. Indeed from 1991 onwards the gross domestic product of our country has gone up 8-9%, and India has emerged as global economic power. India has attracted a great deal of foreign investment, and the amount of international trade has increased manifold. But it has been observed by the scholars that the benefits of globalization has been confined to elite sections of society, and its impact in terms of social welfare has been by and far negative.

The economic policies of our country are focussing (from 1991 onwards) more and more on the expansion of capitalism and privatisation, and continuously focus is diluted from the issues of social welfare. This inherently negative impact of the neo-liberal economic policies can be studies under following heads:

  1. Increased Rich Poor Divide: The gap between the rich and poor has been widened all over the world. At global level the richest 10% of the population earned 79 times higher than the poorest 10% used to, in 1980; till 2003 the income of top 10% population was 117 times higher than those of poorest 10%.vii In India the high rate of GDP has substantially benefitted only the upper 10-15% people, and depressed employment for marginalised section of society.viii The top 10% of the population has a share of around 52% in the national wealth, and on the other hand the share of bottom 10% has been reduced to 0.21%.ix
  2. Neglect for Agriculture: From 1991 agriculture and farmers have been neglected by the government, and the average budgetary expenditure for irrigation is less than 0.35%.x The agriculture investment, which was 1.9% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 1990-91, has been decreased to the extent of 1.3% of the GDP in 2003-04.xi The expenditure on agriculture has decreased continuously as in the 9th plan it was 4.37%; in the 10th plan it was 3.86%, and in the 11th plan it was only 1.83%.xii The budget for 2011-12 is the most recent example of the neglect of agriculture by the government; the budgetary allocation for “agriculture and allied activities” fell by Rs. 5422 crore, or by 4.3%, in comparison to the allocation for the year 2010-11.xiii In the last twelve years there were 2 lakh suicides by the farmers, which is the evidence of pitiful conditions of agrarian sector.
  3. Devastation of Small Scale Industries (SSIs): It was observed that more than 3 lakh small scale industries and more than three lakh handloom and power loom units were closed down due to the impact of globalization, because of decreasing bank loans to the SSIs. The allotment of funds to the SSIs has also been decreasing continually in terms of percentage; in seventh five year plan (1985-90) the outlay for SSIs was 0.42% of the total expenditure; in 8th plan it decreased to 0.33%, and in 9th plan it further decreased to 0.12%.xiv Even in the terms of growth performance the SSIs are lagging behind from the time of inception of globalisation; in 1990-91 the percentage of growth rate was 6.88%, but till 2002-03 it has been decreased to the extent of 4.69%.xv The SSIs are very important units for providing self employment in rural and suburban area, and they have potential to make people self sufficient, hence by neglecting the SSIs the government is definitely deviating from its welfare obligations towards people.
  4. Ecological Damage: At many places the environment was harmed by the factories of big companies without any action taken for the restoration as like contamination of water by Coca-Cola plant at Plachimada, Kerala; ecological damage by Pepsi at Himalayan pass;xvi damage of Tajmahal by industries of Agra; pollution of Ganga river by the industries of Kanpur city, etc,. In fact there has been total indifference from the side of government, and it has compromised the environment frequently for the sake of foreign investment. It has been seen that the government has failed to enforce the corporate environmental responsibility, so much so that the people affected by the Bhopal disaster could not be provided adequate compensation till now.
  5. Regional Disparities in Development: It has been seen that the impact of the economic policies of the government has not resulted in inclusive and equitable development, but rather big disparities have arisen in different regions. Generally speaking the southern states and western states have acquired accelerated economic growth, and the north eastern and central parts of nation are lagging behind.
  6. Financial Inclusion, a Distant Dream: Financial Inclusion which has been an issue of concern from the time of independence itself is still a distant dream. Half of the population in India does not possess a bank account, 90% people have no access to credit or life insurance cover, and 98% had no participation in the capital market.xvii

Conclusion

In today’s time it seems that the policies of government are not in conformity with the obligations of a welfare state. By taking pro-corporate stand, and neglecting the plight of the people, the state is derogating from its constitutional responsibilities of creating an egalitarian society and providing social and economic justice. It has to be remembered that people are not just means to achieve higher economic growth, but they are ends in themselves; every policy of government must put the people at the centre of it as beneficiaries.
In the light of preceding discussion the following suggestions merit attention with regard to the constitutional responsibilities of the state to achieve social-welfare objective enshrined in the Constitution:

  1. Focus on the Development of Agriculture: In India still around 58% people are dependent on agriculture; hence the government must increase the public expenditure in agriculture substantially in terms of GDP as well as in terms of total expenditure. More funds must be devoted towards the area of research in agriculture as like in the area of production of better quality seeds.
  2. Removal of Poverty and Inequalities: The state must focus to eliminate not only the poverty but also inequality among the different sects of society. Although on the one hand the actual number of persons below poverty line has decreased but simultaneously the levels of inequality have risen considerably. The state must ensure that the benefits of globalisation are not confined to some particular sections, and the profits earned by a firm must be shared by the labour in appropriate percentage.
  3. Financial Inclusion: The state must ensure that the entire population is able to access at least the basic financial services, because without access to financial services it is almost impossible for the marginalised people to get out of the vicious circle of poverty.xviii To make the financial inclusion a reality the state must focus on strengthening of micro-finance, expansion of branches in far reaching rural areas, creation of special funds,xix and liberalised banking policies towards the weaker sections.
  4. Corporate Environmental Responsibility: When some environmental damage is done the most affected people by it are poor, because they lack sufficient resources to avoid the impact of pollution (as like purifying water). The government must ensure that in future no environmental damage should be caused by the industries and plants of corporate entities, and if any damage has been done it must pay for it.
  5. Removal of Regional Disparities: The per- capita net domestic product varies substantially among the states, as like in case of Delhi it is Rs 29137, and in case of Bihar it is Rs. 6277.xx On the basis of per capita income the states can be divided among three groups rich states (Punjab, Maharashtra, Haryana, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu), middle income states (Karnataka, Kerala, West Bengal, AP) and poor states (Rajasthan, MP, Orissa, UP, Bihar);xxi and needless to say the North Eastern region is counted as poor. The government is required to give urgent focus to the poor states in terms of education, infrastructure, healthcare, financial services, and other things.
  6. Urgent Spending on Healthcare and Education: In healthcare around 46% children are malnourished in India;xxii less than 15% population possesses any kind of healthcare cover;xxiii around 66% poorest children in India receive no or minimal healthcare.xxiv In education the enrolment for secondary level in India is just about 52%, which is far low than that of countries like Vietnam (72%), and Sri Lanka (83%);xxv the enrolment for higher education in India is just 12%;xxvi It has to be reminded that better healthcare and education facilities would create better professionals, and hence immediate attention must be paid to the development of these sectors both in terms of increased expenditure and utilisation of expenditure.
  7. Changing Needs of Social Welfare: Along with changing time the content of social welfare policies would change, and the state must conform to these changing needs, and provide services as per these changing needs. For example in 1970s the computer education was not an essential requirement of society, but in today’s world it is immensely important. The state is constitutionally obliged to take care of the needs of society, and to maintain the social, economic and political justice; hence it must change its policies along with the changing needs of people keeping the welfare of the people at the centre.

Implementation of the above suggestions in a time-bound manner by the government would help government move towards fulfilling its constitutional responsibilities in bringing about a socialist welfare state.

* Avneesh Kumar is a Researcher at Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia National Law University, Lucknow; E-mail- avneesh.dhariwal@gmail.com


End Notes
  1. Recently the poverty line was fixed by the government for poor as below 26 Rs in rural and below 32 Rs in urban areas.
  2. The word socialist was not there in the Preamble at the time of adoption of constitution of India at 26 November, 1949, but it was added by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment in 1976.
  3. AIR 1983 SC 130
  4. As like in the name untouchability (Untouchability is abolished and its practice is forbidden by Article 17 of Indian Constitution), class superiority, rituals, etc.
  5. AIR 1995 SC 922.
  6. Short form for of Article (of Indian Constitution).
  7. Robert Weissman, ‘Grotesque Inequality: Corporate Globalization and Global Gap between Rich and Poor’ (2003) July/August Multinational Monitor Magazine
  8. Praful Bidwai, ‘Shining and Starving’ (2011) 28(17) Frontline
  9. Praful Bidwai, ‘The Question of Inequality’ (2007) 24(21) Frontline
  10. Era Sezhiyan, ‘Globe for Rich- Zero for Poor: Globalisation of Indian Economy’ (2007) XLV(20) Mainstream Weekly
  11. The Research Unit for Political Economy, ‘The Shaping of Agriculture by External Interests’ (2005) 39/40 Aspects of Indian Economy
  12. Brinda Jagirdar, ‘High Food Price, A Crisis on Our Plate’ Businessline (October 16, 2011)
  13. R Ramakumar, ‘InFarmer’s Name’ (2011) 28(6) Frontline
  14. C Narasimha Rao, Globalisation, Justice, and Development (Serials Publication, New Delhi 2007), pg 280.
  15. Ibid, Rao, pg 281.
  16. BBC News, ‘Coke Paints the Himalayas Red’ (August 15, 2002)
  17. Business Standard, ‘Financial Inclusion Imperative to Reap Demographic Dividend’ (January 24, 2011)
  18. It would be appropriate to remind here that out of the total population whose earning is below 50,000, only 28.3% people have a bank account. K C Chakrabarty, Pushing Financial Inclusion- Issues, Challenges, and Way Forward (July 17, 2009), Presentation at 20th SKOCH Summit 2009, Mumbai.
  19. K C Chakrabarty, Pushing FinancialInclusion- Issues, Challenges, and Way Forward (July 17, 2009), Presentation at 20th SKOCH Summit 2009, Mumbai
  20. Rajesh Shukla, ‘Inclusive Growth and Regional Disparity’ Economic Times (January 04, 2010)
  21. Ila Patnaik, ‘Growth, Poverty, and Unemployment in States’ (May 09, 2006)
  22. UNICEF, ‘Children’
  23. WHO, ‘India Tries to Break Cycle of Healthcare Debt’ (2010) 88(7) Bulletin of WHO
  24. Kounteya Sinha, ‘53% Indian Kids Under 5 Lack Healthcare’ (May 08, 2008)
  25. TNN, ‘Secondary Education Lagging Behind, Says World Bank Study’ (October 07, 2009)
  26. The Hindu, Mere 12% Enrolment for Higher Education’ The Hindu (December 22, 2009)

--------------------------------------
Published Date : 3rd January 2012

Here is an essay on ‘Justice’ for class 11 and 12. Find paragraphs, long and short essays on ‘Justice’ especially written for school and college students.

Essay on Justice


1. Essay on the Introduction to Justice in Indian Constitution:

Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of State Policy aim at the fulfillment of aspirations, ideals and objectives of the constitutional fathers enshrined in the Preamble to the Constitution. The Preamble of the Constitution promises the Indian people social, economic and political justice, liberty to thought, expression, belief, faith and worship and the equality of status and opportunity.

Fundamental Rights mainly guarantee ‘Equality’ and ‘Freedom’ to the Indian citizens, the Directive Principles of State Policy aim at establishing a social system in which they may get social, economic and political justice. The ultimate aim of both is to achieve the ideas of justice, liberty and equality fixed by the Indian Constitution.

Fundamental Rights, Directive Principles of State Policy and Justice:

Justice is an essential condition for the all-round development of the personality of an individual. According to Salmond, “Justice means to distribute the due share to everybody.” Provisions have been made for the attainment of social, political and economic justice for Indian people after the political independence of the country in 1947.

2. Essay on the Social Justice:

Social justice means to abolish social inequalities and to provide equal opportunities to everybody in social life. Before 1947, there were so many social inequalities in India. The framers of the Indian Constitution were determined to end all such inequalities. In order to put an end to social inequalities following provisions have been made in the Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of State Policy.

They are:

(a) Equality before Law:

In order to provide social justice, it is essential that those who live in the society should be equal before law. Article 14 of Fundamental Rights of the Indian Constitution provides that the State shall not deny to any person equality before law or equal protection of a law within the territory of India. It means that in India, laws do not discriminate between rich and poor, high and low.

(b)Prohibition of Discrimination:

It is essential for social justice that in the society all discriminations should end and there should be no privileged class. Article 15 of the Indian Constitution provides for a ban on discrimination based on caste, color, race, religion, sex etc. Every individual has been given the right to freely visit all shops, public restaurants, hotels, and places of public entertainments, wells, tanks, public bath, roads and other places of public utility.

(c) Equality of Opportunity in Public Appointments:

In order to establish social justice, it is essential that there should equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters relating to appointment to any office. Article 16 of the Fundamental Rights provides for equal opportunities to all the Indian citizens in the matter of public appointments. The government will not discriminate against the Indian people in the matter of public appointments on the basis of caste, color, race, religion, sex and place of birth etc. But the State can keep some seats reserved for the members of scheduled and backward classes in the matter of public appointments.

(d) Abolition of Untouchability:

Article 17 of Fundamental Rights provides for the abolition of centuries old social evil of untouchability. Untouchability has been declared as a punishable offence under the laws.

(e)Abolition of Titles:

In order to bring about social justice, under Article 18 of the Fundamental Rights, the State has been restrained from conferring any title, except military and academic titles.

(f) Prohibition of Exploitation:

Social justice demands that there should be no exploitation of man by man. Article 23 and 24 of the Indian Constitution provides for the abolition of all sort of exploitation. Article 23 provides for a ban of human trade, ‘Begar’ or work without any wages and getting work done against the will of the individual. Similarly Article 24 provides for a ban on dangerous work being got done by children below the age of 14 years. The aim of these Articles and provisions is to end slavery and bonded labor.

(g)Promotion of the Interests of Backward and Weaker Section of Society:

Through the provisions of Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of State Policy, the State has been given directions for the protection of the interests of backward and weaker sections of the Indian society. It is the sacred duty of the State to protect the people from exploitation and social injustice.

(h)Protection of the Interests of Minorities:

In order to protect the interest of minorities and to save them from the exploitation of majority community. Article 24 of the Indian Constitution gives the right to protect and preserve the language, script and culture to the people living in any part of the country. According to Article 30, the minorities have been given the right to establish and administer their own educational institutions.

(i) Special Facilities for Weaker Sections of Society:

Social justice demands that special facilities should be provided by the State to improve the conditions of weak and backward classes of society. There is provision both in the Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles of State Policy that the State shall promote the educational and economic interests of weaker sections, especially of backward classes, scheduled costs and scheduled tribes and protect them from social injustice and exploitation.

In short it can be concluded that with the provision of Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of State Policy almost all the arrangements have been made for the establishment of social justice in the country.

3. Essay on the Economic Justice:

Economic justice means that the individual is provided with the bare necessities of food, clothes and shelter, the abolition of the unequal distribution of wealth and the provision of equal and appropriate opportunities for the earning of his livelihood. The provision of economic justice is essential for the attainment of social justice and the success of democracy. The chapters of Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of State Policy make the following provisions for the attainment of economic justice in the country.

They are:

(a) Right to Property is made Legal Right:

According to the 44th Constitutional Amendment, the Right to Property has been made merely a legal right. For the fulfillment of this objective Article 300 (A) has been inserted into the Constitution. The aim of this amendment was to remove the obstacles in the path of the establishment of economic justice.

(b)Adequate Means of Livelihood:

In order to give economic justice, it is essential to fulfill the basic needs of the public. Article 39 (a) of the Directive Principles says that the State shall direct its economic policy in such a way that all citizens have the right to an adequate means of livelihood. According to Article 41, the State shall within the limits of its economic capacity and development, make provision for work to all citizens.

(c)To Check the Concentration of Wealth and Means of Production:

For the establishment of economic justice it is essential to check the concentration of wealth and the means of production in fewer hands. The Indian Constitution makes a provision for the acquisition of property of the people by the State for the furtherance of the public interest. Article 39 (b) provides that the ownership and control over the material resources would be conducted in such a manner as to do public welfare. According to Article 39 (c), the economic organisation in the country would be controlled in such a manner that wealth is not concentrated in the hands of fewer people and the means of production are not used against the interests of Indian people.

(d)Equal Pay for Equal Work:

Economic justice requires that men and women should get equal pay for equal work. Article 39 (d) of the Indian Constitution provides that the State shall endeavor to secure equal pay for men and women for equal work.

(e)Protection against Economic Exploitation:

For the establishment of economic justice, it is essential that there is no economic exploitation of one class by another class. Under Article 23 of the Fundamental Rights, traffic of human beings, beggar and bonded labor are prohibited. Besides, in Article 39 (e) of the Directive Principles of State Policy, it has been provided that the State shall see that health and strength of workers, men and women and the tender age of children are not abused. The workers will not be forced by economic necessity to enter vocations unsuited to their age or strength.

(f) Social Security:

Economic justice demands that arrangements should be made to give economic assistance to those who are unemployed, old age and sick. Article 41 of the Directive Principles of State Policy provides that the State working within its resources and the limits of its progress and development, shall made available public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age and sickness.

(g)Participation of Workers in the Management of Industries:

Workers participation in the management of industries ensures economic justice. Article 43A of the Indian Constitution provides that the State shall take steps by suitable legislation or in any other way to secure participation of workers in the management of industries.

4. Essay on the Political Justice:

By the term political justice it is implied that the citizens equally share the use of political power in the State so that they may be able to associate themselves with the administration and also fully enjoy all types of political freedom. Article 326 of the Indian Constitution entitles every Indian citizen above the age of 18 years to exercise his right to vote to elect his representatives without any sort of discrimination or limitations. In addition to this, the following provisions have been made for the attainment of political justice through the operation of Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of State Policy.

They are:

(a)Right to Hold Public Office:

Political justice can be established if all the people are given equal rights to occupy public offices. Article 16 of the Constitution provides that there should be equality of opportunities for all citizens in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State. No citizen shall be discriminated against on ground of religion, race, caste, sex and place of birth.

(b)Right to Criticise the Government:

Article 19 of the Indian Constitution empowers the citizens of India with the freedom to express his views. In this way every Indian citizen gets the right to criticise the Government and thus plays his role in making the government a responsible one.

(c)Right to form Political Organisations:

According to Article 19 of the Indian Constitution, the Indian citizens are empowered to form political organisations for the protection of their interests.

(d) Right to Protest:

The Indian citizens have also been given the right to protest. They can demonstrate their protest against the government by means of observing strikes, processions, rallies and public meetings etc.

(e) Protection of Rights:

In order to get political justice it is essential that the rights of all citizens should be equally protected. Article 32 of the Fundamental Rights in the Indian Constitution clearly states that citizens can appeal to the High Courts and the Supreme Court for the protection of their Fundamental Rights. The Courts can issue writs for the protection of fundamental rights.


Upload and Share Your Article: