Types of Justice



  • Natural Justice
  • Legal Justice
  • Social Justice


Types of Justice:

  • Natural Justice:

The concept of natural justice is linked to the very existence of a human being. A human being is part of nature therefore he can intrinsically understand concept of right and wrong, justice and injustice. Ancient Greek and Roman philosophers advocated the concept of natural justice. Since man naturally understands what is right and what is wrong, there is no need to create manmade laws. This is the meaning of natural justice

  • Legal Justice:

John Austin considered law as a means to establish justice as well as a means to suppress injustice. Justice is a precondition to law as without it, law will only be a means to suppress people. It implies rational and reasonable laws whose main objective must be well- being of community. There should be an independent and impartial judiciary to administer justice.

Legal Justice includes the following:

  • The judicial proceedings should be conducted in a tension free atmosphere.
  • There should be specific rules for judicial proceedings.
  • The accused should be informed about the charges against him.
  • Social Justice:

Social Justice means the equitable distribution of goods and services on the principle of equality. It is necessary to ensure that the weaker sections get adequate share in this distribution. Hence, social justice is also known as distributive justice. In modern times it also includes upliftment of socially economically backward sections of society and provision of welfare in different areas. For eg, education, social security, scholarships, old age benefits etc.

Procedural Justice and Social Justice are two approaches to Social Justice. It means that cases should follow proper legal procedure, correctly interpret the law and treat everyone as equal before law. Justice is related not just to an individual but to the society.

Robert Nozick advocated the concept of Procedural Justice while Karl Marx, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar and John Rawls argued in favour of Social Justice. Karl Marx considers the State as an instrument of exploitation of workers. This instrument is in the hands of the capitalist class. Since the laws are made by the State, it is natural that they protect the interest of the capitalists. The socialist system gives a priority to the right of equality of the ‘have nots’ rather than the right of property of the ‘haves’.

Haves: Refers to that section of the population who own the means of production.

Have nots: Refers to that section of population who are predominantly the labour.

Rawls has put forth two principles of social justice:

  1. Fundamental rights and duties must be uniformly applicable. A system can be just only when, those at the bottom of the system are able to benefit from it.
  2. There must be equality of opportunity for all the public offices that are available. This is Rawls concept of fairness.

A few examples of social justice are Voting rights, Climate justice, Healthcare, Refugee crisis, Racial Injustice.

Basic principles of social justice:

  1. Access (greater equality of access to goods and services)
  2. Equity (overcoming unfairness caused by unequal access to economic resources and power)
  3. Rights (equal effective legal, industrial and political rights)
  4. Participation (expanded opportunities for real participation in the decisions which govern their lives).
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