Justice, I believe is very subjective in our country. The understanding that Justice is about the realisation of one’s basic liberty and right to equal status and representation in society, as John Rawls put it, does not find meaning in our clearly defined and demarcated communities. The debates about the existence of high rates of inequality among different classes especially in the city, the strong divide between the haves and the have-nots show us the ground reality of the lost sense of Justice. The powerful and the influential, in order to keep their status, use their wealth and network to their advantage. Thus, not just the concept of Justice but even “access to justice” has been lost in chaos and corruption. All righteous players in the police or justice department, if any, are fed up of the heavy influence of politics in the game of prosecution. Criminals in our society are not scared of the law because they are aided by local politicians. Why am I blaming local politicians? Because they come to power based on the party they are in alliance with. Voters give heavy significance to the community and religion a party represents. Criminal records don’t matter as long as their community remains dominant in the region despite weak attempts at development and health security. It is much harder for a person from the slums to even report an FIR than for an esteemed member of society to get justice and compensation for the loss caused.
Moving away from the city, cases of molestation, assault, kidnapping, theft and disappearances are too common for the Courts to give decent time to all of them. They are filled with red tape and prisons are filled with undertrials. In order to do away with all those the courts and judgments should always be heard properly and within a specific period of time before the perpetrators buy time and witnesses and victims lose hope in any conviction and justice. Politicians should have no role in police work and court decisions. I have read and heard stories of people pushing the lawyers and police to file their case and do their work rather than the latter having a sense of urgency to do their duty.
Blaming will never solve the problem hence, advocates of justice in the form of civil society organizations, activists and many teachers are doing a brilliant job by making everyone realise their role in bringing about true justice. Whistle-blowers are another example of upstanding citizens who won’t stop at anything for exposing wrong acts. Their persecution is proof that the government is afraid of exposing themselves. Therefore, everyone as citizens and part of this vibrant thriving society must advocate for one another and ask why our rights and needs are not met. The ongoing issues related to crime and corruption need to be questioned again and again by all of us, social boundaries breached, subdued topics discussed more openly and ignorance erased through true knowledge and information. Changing mindsets is not going to be easy, but I as a student right now talk and discuss the need for achieving equal human rights and social development with my peers and others in general as much as I can. “soch badlo tabhi badlega India”.
Justice is not explicitly understood in its essence but it is surely met with the help of people who fight to preserve it and make way for others to access it.
By Dorothy Zana Vallado
Dorothy Zana Vallado is studying for a Masters Degree in Public Policy at the St Xavier’s College in Mumbai