stating a fundamental rule of Aristotle – Justice is to treat equals equally and unequals unequally, and that unequal
treatment should be in proportion to the inequality. In
everyday life though, justice is seen as an attribute of law, while all laws are not necessarily just. Many great socio-
political movements of the world have focused from time to
time on unjust laws eg Apartheid laws in South Africa and
Caste laws in India. Impartiality and fairness are understood to be the two aspects of justice. But it would be misleading to suggest that Justice refers solely to the fair application of a rule. Some rules, though fairly applied, may produce
results repugnant to our intuitive conceptions of justice.
Though these are rules that do not discriminate, they cannot be called ‘just’. Eg Indirect taxes like salt tax that all sections of the society had to pay – it posed a burden for the poor people and in that way, was not at all just.
Contemporary politics is to a great extent about who gets
what and why and the criteria commonly employed for
the distribution of goods and services are ‘desert’, ‘merit’ and ‘need’. The concept of desert refers to the actions of men and women that result in special treatment either in the form of rewards or n the form of punishments. Thus, justice
is linked with distribution and is a distributive concept.
Justice is divided into two broad categories – procedural
and social. In theories of social justice, justice is seen as a feature of the society, so evaluation is done in terms
of how just or unjust a society or states is according to
some previously agreed-upon criteria, thereby making it
teleological. Such theories promote the intervention of
state to uphold the principles of justice, and thus uphold
positive liberty. In procedural theories demands of justice
are satisfied if certain rules are followed. The outcomes
of the procedures are not relevant to...