Social Justice is an area only partly covered by law; rest is covered by social and political ideas and practices. Justice involves giving each person his due continues to be an important part of our present day understanding of justice. In the ancient Indian society, justice was associated with ‘dharma’. Plato in ‘Republic’ discusses the meaning of justice and whether the just man is happier than the unjust man. Socrates explained that justice does not mean doing good to our friends and harm to our enemies. Justice can be defined as ‘the way in which human rights are manifested in the everyday lives of society’.
There are three principles of social justice: equal treatment for equals, proportionate justice and recognition of social justice. The principle of treating equals equally requires that there is no discrimination on the grounds of class, caste, race or gender. Justice implies rewarding people in proportion to the scale and quality of their efforts. The third principle of justice which we recognise is for a society should take into account special needs of the people while distributing rewards and duties.
Indian Constitution abolished the practice of untouchability to promote social equality especially for the scheduled castes and tribes. Social justice requires that people be treated equally in terms of laws and policies of the society and they enjoy some basic equality of life conditions and opportunities. Some state governments have redistributed important resources by instituting land reforms.
Rawls theory’s first principle guarantees the right to each person to have the most extensive basic liberty, which is compatible with the liberty of others. The second principle states that social and economic positions should be advantageous and open to all. Equal opportunities concentrate on treating all people equally and giving them equal rights.
A just society should provide people with the basic minimum conditions to enable them to live healthy and secure lives and develop their talents as well as equal opportunities to pursue their chosen goals in society. Free market is the basis of free and just society. To remove social and economic inequalities, role of the state cannot be undermined. Politics is about the negotiation of such disagreements through debate.