“Political tyranny is nothing compared to the social tyranny and a reformer who defies society is a more courageous man than a politician who defies Government”.Dr. B.R. Ambedkar
On 29th August 1947 the Drafting Committee was formed under the chairmanship of Babasaheb Ambedkar, the Architect of the Indian Constitution who moulded the rights, liberties, and duties of the people, for the people and by the people of India to form a structure of the Constitution along with other members of the Committee. The draft of the Constitution was adopted by the Constituent Assembly on 26th November 1949 which is observed as National Law Day in the nation every year. In his last speech to the Constituent Assembly of India, Babasaheb said “Bhakti in religion may be a road to the salvation of the soul. But in politics, Bhakti or hero-worship is a sure road to degradation and to eventual dictatorship”.
Keeping in mind the dire need of the country for Justice, Equality, Liberty, and Fraternity, Babasaheb encrypted the importance of Social Justice in the Constitution which is reflected in it. The Preamble of the Indian Constitution thus reads as follows:
“…….to secure to all its citizens:
JUSTICE, social, economic and political;
EQUALITY of status and of opportunity;
and to promote among them all
FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and
integrity of the Nation….”
Babasaheb’s efforts to eradicate social evils were remarkable and that is why he is called the “messiah” of the Dalits and downtrodden in India.
The Magna Carta of the Indian Constitution i.e. the Fundamental Rights are incorporated in Part III of the Constitution to the citizens against the State. The main focus of Babasaheb was on prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth which was embodied in Articles 15, 17, 23, and 24 of the Constitution. He even outlawed untouchability, which always haunted him since childhood, by inserting Article 17 in the Constitution, speaking of ‘Abolition of Untouchability’. The Civil Rights Protection Act, 1965, and the Prevention of Atrocities (Scheduled castes Scheduled tribes) Act, 1989 were further enacted by the Parliament for the protection of Dalit rights on the basis of Article 17 of the Indian Constitution.
India being a welfare state has enshrined Directive Principles of State Policy in Part IV of the Constitution which provides guidelines to be followed by the State to exterminate social and economic injustice from the society by applying these principles in formulating laws of the country although the violation of these principles is not enforceable in the court of law.
As per Babasaheb, Directive Principles are nothing but just an Instrument of Instructions. In his own words, “the Directive Principles are like the instrument of instructions, which were issued to the Governor-General and to the Governors of the colonies of India by the British Government under the Government of India Act of 1935.”
Article 38 of the Constitution concerns the welfare of the people by securing and protecting social order in which justice, social, economic, and political, shall inform all the institutions of the national life. It states that the state shall strive to minimize the inequalities of income, status, facilities, and opportunities in society. Accordingly, other Articles of the Directive Principles of State Policy talk about equal justice, free legal aid, equal pay for equal work for both men and women, promotion of educational and economic interests of Scheduled Castes, Schedules Tribes, and other weaker sections.
UNITED NATIONS ON SOCIAL JUSTICE:
Social Justice is not confined as a national theory but is an international notion. As per the United Nations (UN), Social Justice is an underlying principle for peaceful and prosperous coexistence within and among nations. For the United Nations, the pursuit of Social Justice is to promote the development and human dignity. The adoption of Social Justice for a Fair Globalization by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) is one of the recent examples of the UN System’s commitment to social justice. The Declaration focuses on guaranteeing fair outcomes for all, through employment, social protection, social dialogue, and fundamental principles and rights at work. UN in its publication ‘Social Justice in an Open World’ states that in the modern context, those concerned with Social Justice see the general increase in income inequality as unjust, deplorable, and alarming. It is argued that poverty reduction and overall improvements in the standard of living are attainable goals that would bring the world closer to Social Justice. On 26th November 2007, the General Assembly declared that 20th February will be celebrated annually as the World Day of Social Justice. It is a matter of pride that on 13th April 2016, the UN, for the first time observed Babasaheb’s birth anniversary with a focus on combating inequalities to achieve Sustainable Development Goals.
A note circulated by the Indian mission quoted “Fittingly, although it’s a matter of coincidence, one can see the trace of Babasaheb’s radiant vision in the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the U.N. General Assembly to eliminate poverty, hunger, and socio-economic inequality by 2030”.
BE EDUCATED, BE ORGANISED AND BE AGITATED.