Role of judiciary in ensuring social justice in India

Judiciary, as an ultimate interpreter of law and dispenser(supplier) of Justice is confided under Art 32 with the responsibility, to enforce the fundamental rights like right to equality, right against exploitation among others, which are fundamental in maintaining justice and social order in the society.

Social justice includes providing basic facilities so like human life with dignity (art 21) by providing food, shelter, medical help, water, clean environment, security etc. As social Justice is one of the principles, clearly laid down in the Preamble to the Constitution Of India, as also given utmost importance by parts III and IV of the Constitution, Judiciary is to promote social justice through its judgements. The courts are free to all, from the richest to the poorest of the poor, in a way, that for seeking justice, one can easily move to the concerned courts at concerned levels. The judiciary thus holds the “rule of the law” which conveys that no one is above law and each and every person shall be treated equally and impartially, when it comes to justice delivery.

However, The Indian judiciary is often criticized, perhaps justifiably, for the unusual delay in the disposal of disputes and the poor management of the proceedings showing very little concern for the consequences to the litigant public and to society at large. Judicial activism and public interest litigation have tried to address the issue with limited success. The legal aid apparatus could not respond meaningfully to the challenges partly because of the way it is administered and its inability to build bridges with civil society.

The Judiciary is constituted as the guarantor and defender of fundamental rights of Indian citizens.

For instance- Judiciary has tried ensuring social justice through several of its judgements. Some of these include Indra Sawhney v. Union of India (1992) regarding reservations, MC Mehta verses state of Tamil Nadu (1997) regarding elimination of child labour, Vishaka judgement (1997) against sexual harassment, Samatha Vs State of AP (1997) upholding tribal rights on land. On the contrary, the judiciary has also put forth controversial judgements like the recent upholding ‘of’ the criminalisation of homosexuality which have cast a shadow over judicial justice for minorities. The slow pace with which enforcement of justice takes place in the hands of judiciary is also a matter of criticism.

In some cases judiciary have over reached its ambit of power yet in long run it has work like directive agency to its complementary pillars that is Legislative and Executive. The judiciary is overburdened with cases. Social justice should be separated from normal civil cases as society shapes the future generation.

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