Justice is the maintenance of what is just and fair. In the modern state, justice implies ensuring and protecting minimum rights and entitlement for all.

Justice can be classified into the following categories:

  • Social justice
    • It means a fair and just relationship between an individual and society. It refers to justice in terms of the distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society. It aims to meet the challenge of socio-economic inequality by rule of law.
    • According to Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, social justice is a means to create an ideal or a just society. To him a just society is a casteless society, based on the principles of social justice. The key components of Ambedkar’s concept of social justice are liberty, equality and fraternity.
    • Example: Affirmative policy (reservation system) followed in India is an apt example of the Social Justice.
  • Political justice
    • It refers to the use of the judicial process for the purpose of power-sharing in politics.
    • For example, the provision of universal adult suffrage, reservation policy to ensure representation of marginalized sections etc., deal with political justice.
  • Economic justice
    • The theory of justice aimed at achieving equal economic opportunities for all individuals, avoiding the concentration of wealth in society and establishing a foundation to lead a life of dignity and opportunity. It mainly deals with the economic policies of the state.
    • Example: equal wages for all, progressive tax system, equal distribution of wealth by various welfare schemes etc.
  • Distributive Justice
    •  Justice that is concerned with the distribution or allotment of goods, duties, and privileges in concert with the merits of individuals, and the best interests of society.
    • Justice here requires that the resources available to the distributor be shared according to some relevant criterion.
  • Procedural Justice
    • Procedural justice lays emphasis on fair processes rather than the outcomes i.e., if the procedure is correct then whatever be the outcome, the justice is said to be done.
    • It is concerned with the fairness of how information is gathered or how a decision is made. For example, a person suspected of a crime might give information through careful, unbiased
      investigation or by torture.
  • Substantive Justice
    • Substantive justice is concerned with fair outcomes apart from following the fair procedure.
    • Substantive Justice means that even those rights are safeguarded which are not included in the existing law.
  • Restorative Justice
    • Restorative justice refers to “an approach to justice that seeks to repair harm by providing an opportunity for those harmed and those who take responsibility for the harm to communicate about and address their needs in the aftermath of a crime.”
Example of Procedural and Substantive Justice

For example, if a law is enacted, following the fair procedure or procedure established by law, to prevent appointment of a certain section of its society to public offices, then such a law will serve the purpose of procedural justice but not substantive justice. This is not a substantive justice because selectively excluding certain section from public appointments cannot be fair.

  • Retributive Justice
    • It is more so focused on punishing the wrongdoer for ensuring the well-being of society.
    • Retributive Justice implies punishing an action which was illegal with an aim to deter it.  For example, the Death penalty for heinous crimes in various countries.
  • Restorative:
    • It is a form of justice which aims to rehabilitate and get the offender back into society while focusing on the victims of the crime. In this, the offender is being rehabilitated to fit societal norms and laws.
    • For example, Victim assistance – Various processes that help victims recover and lead a normal life. Community service – to help the offender get an idea of the harm they’ve caused and provide them with an opportunity to help in the healing.
Principle of Natural Justice

These are the basic rules that aim at bringing fairness in the procedure followed by every judicial, quasi-judicial and administrative agency in taking decisions that can adversely affect the rights of a private individual. It requires the fulfilment of three conditions:

  • No one should be a judge in their own case
  • A judge should always hear the other party before giving any order and
  • A judge should act without any bias




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