Day 63 – Q 1. Do tough laws always ensure justice? Critically examine. 

  • IASbaba
  • August 21, 2020
  • 0
Ethics Theory, GS 4, TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
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1. Do tough laws always ensure justice? Critically examine. 

क्या कठोर कानून सर्वदा न्याय सुनिश्चित करते हैं? समालोचनात्मक जांच करें।

Demand of the question:

It expects candidates to  examine both sides of whether tough laws always ensure justice  and come to a balanced conclusion.


Rule of Law collates the rules which are based on the principles of freedom, equality, non-discrimination, fraternity, accountability and non-arbitrariness and is certain, regular and predictable. As law and justice are interrelated terms in this modern world, it becomes important to verify whether tough laws always ensure justice or not.


Tough laws ensure justice:

  • The Constitution has been made the supreme law of the country and other laws are required to be in conformity with the Constitution.
  • Hence, Article 39A of the Constitution of India provides that State shall secure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice on a basis of equal opportunity, and shall, in particular, provide free legal aid, by suitable legislation or schemes or in any other way, to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disability.
  • Accordingly under NALSA act, Free legal services are provided in matters before Civil, Criminal and Revenue Courts, Tribunals or any other authority exercising judicial or quasi judicial functions.
  • Articles 14 and Article 22(1) also make it obligatory for the State to ensure equality before the law and a legal system that promotes justice on a basis of equal opportunity to all.
  • Whenever we see the courts can even call the high profile citizens to court and treats them at equal with the poor person as all are equal before the law. It ensures justice for the poor or underprivileged one.
  • The dignity of a person is of pivotal importance when it comes to justice. Hence, when a law ensure dignity of a person/entity is restores then it’s a sure justice. e.g. A prominent Bollywood actor went to jail for brutally killing the people who were sleeping on the pavements.
  • It also ensures justice by giving proper compensation to the victim of any tragedy. e.g. If a gas cylinder blasts during cooking then the respective gas agency is liable to pay 50 Lakh Rs. to the victims once victim files an FIR.

Hence, the system of tough law ensures justice by providing access to justice, equality in terms of delivering justice, compensation to victims, reinstating the dignity of the victim. However, sometimes  tough laws lack to ensure justice:

  • Just having  a tough law in place is not enough, as its effective implementation on ground matters the most. e.g. As per the prohibition of Child Marriage act, it is mandated to have age of boy be 21 and that of girl is 18 for marriage. However, According to UNICEF approximately one in four young women in India were married or in union before their 18th birthday.
  • There is need of adequate machinery effective implementation of law. For instance, On average, in India the police have a vacancy of 23% (2017), and the judiciary between 20%-40% across the high court’s and lower judiciary.
  • Sometimes local customs of people especially tribal’s comes in to conflict with the law. Then using law to ensure justice as per  their customs becomes an ethical question. 
  • It comes in to dilemma that whether to apply law or break the customs of tribal.
  • Even though if law is in force it doesn’t fulfil the required goals. For instance, Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 is in force for more than 3 decades now, but number of atrocities on the people belonging to SC and ST community doesn’t come down.
  • Too much law for anything has resulted in judicial pendency of cases over the world. For instance, in India itself, Nationally, at the subordinate court level, on average a case remains pending for five years or more.
  • Many of the times it is felt that formal procedure set by the law is not enough to ensure justice, as it requires heroic action to ensure justice. For instance, encounter in Disha murder case was highly applauded by the general public.


Just having a tough law is not enough its effective implementation and applicability on ground also matters. Judiciary, the government, civil society groups and NGO’s needs to put collaborative effort to plug the gaps in the availability, accessibility and affordability to justice for a common person, as it is rightly said by Martin Luther king that “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”.

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