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Topics: Sociology, Law, Marriage Pages: 12 (475 words) Published: April 27, 2015
LAW AS AN INSTRUMENT OF SOCIAL
CHANGE
• People have common needs which require
concerted efforts
• This have also dissimilar needs which require
mutual adjustment
• One cannot live without depending on others
• Social interdependence inevitable

Law to suit new situations
• An society alters, new situations arise
(reproductive technology, computers, cyber
crime)
• Legal system to suit to new situation
• If law unalterable, changes to be brought
about by violence
• Law capable of adoption

Cont….
• It is flexible
• It allows for peaceful change by legislation,
judicial development
• Legal system to be stable in short period
flexible in long run
• Law to undergo progressive change to serve
need of society

Law as an instrument of social change
• In static societies, law can be used as
instrument of social change
• Law induces patterns of behavior conducive to
prosperity
• Where there are evil customs, they can be
eliminated by law (sati)
• Law abolishes those customs (child marriage)
• It is instrument to achieve peaceful change.

Legislation to bring about social change







Law as an instrument of change
Recent origin in our country
The British initiated it
Legislation to exercise social control
To sustain social structure
In modern age, society ahead of prescribed
law

Cont….
• Legislature makes the law which is intended
for social change
• To bring about social change by influencing
behavior, beliefs values
• In dynamic societies, social norms are ahead
of legal words
• It is necessary to bring the legal code in
conformity with values.

Humanistic Values
• Legislation lays emphasis on humanistic
values.
• Many customs which violate values legally
abolished – Prohibition of Sati Act 1829.
• Widow Marriage Act, 1829,1856
• Prevention of Female infanticide Act,1870
• The child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929

Cont…
• Constitution guarantees equality, freedom
before law, without discrimination of religion,
caste, sex, place of birth (article 14)
• Article 17, untouchability abolition
• Article 24, child labor below 14 years not to be
employed.
• After 1950, govt enacted many social
legislations.

Social legislative and social norms
• Social legislation based on social norms
• No legislation can change social norms
• Social norms not formed, nor imposed from
outside.
• Social norms arise with in the group
• Social norms implanted in child by
socialisation.

Cont….
• Monogamy under Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
already a social norm
• Social laws effective, where they follow existing
norms.
• Legislation cannot initiate change in social norm
• Laws to be effective, where people understand
new values in new law.
• Parents to help child to internalize the new legal
norm as social norms.

Some Acts which brought social change
• Hindu Marriage Act 1955, enforced
Monogamy
• It provides equality of sexes by providing for
separate, divorce, dissolution of marriage
• Untouchability is offence under untouchability
offence Act 1955

Cont….
• The Hindu Succession Act, 1956 confers
absolute right over the property possessed by
woman
• Daughters, along sons are succession to an
inheritance from intestate Hindus
• By Dowery Prohibition Act, 1961, giving or
receiving dowery made punishable.

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