Relation Between Law and Morality or Ethics

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Law is an enactment made by the state. It is backed by physical coercion. Its breach is punishable by the courts. It represents the will of the state and realizes its purpose.

Laws reflect the political, social and economic relationships in the society. It determines rights and duties of the citizens towards one another and towards the state.

It is through law that the government fulfils its promises to the people. It reflects the sociological need of society.

Law and morality are intimately related to each other. Laws are generally based on the moral principles of society. Both regulate the conduct of the individual in society.

They influence each other to a great extent. Laws, to be effective, must represent the moral ideas of the people. But good laws sometimes serve to rouse the moral conscience of the people and create and maintain such conditions as may encourage the growth of morality.

Laws regarding prohibition and spread of primary education are examples of this nature.Morality cannot, as a matter of fact, be divorced from politics. The ultimate end of a state is the promotion of general welfare and moral perfection of man.

It is the duty of the state to formulate such laws as will elevate the moral standard of the people. The laws of a state thus conform to the prevailing standard of morality. Earlier writers on Political Science never made any distinction between law and morality.

Plato's Republic is as good a treatise on politics as on ethics. In ancient India, the term Dharma connoted both law and morality. Law, it is pointed out, is not merely the command of the sovereign, it represents the idea of right or wrong based on the prevalent morality of the people.

Moreover, obedi­ence to law depends upon the active support of the moral sentiments of the people. Laws which are not supported by the moral conscience of the people are liable to become dead letters.

For example laws regarding Prohibition in India have not succeeded...
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