By going through these Maharashtra State Board Class 11 Political Science Notes Chapter 3 Equality and Justice students can recall all the concepts quickly.

Maharashtra State Board Class 11 Political Science Notes Chapter 3 Equality and Justice

This chapter deals with concepts of Equality and Justice which are concerned with the social order.
We will focus on the meaning, facets, importance and types of equality. We will also study the meaning and
types of justice. We will also look at the concepts of equality and justice in the Indian context.

Meaning: Equality is an important ideal in society. Equality does not mean uniformity. It signifies that • all human beings have an equal worth, irrespective of their ethnicity, religion, caste, etc. Today, equality is looked at as a political goal as well as the basis of Liberty and Justice. It has a moral and collective dimension as it includes empathy and tolerance.

Natural inequalities are a reality since humans are not equal in physical or intellectual aspects. The struggle for equality is to do away with the restrictions and burdens of man-made inequalities that are created on the basis of religion, caste, race, status, wealth, etc. Equality is the attempt to create conditions where every individual is given equal opportunity to develop and progress.

Thus, equality is a rational concept. Laski explains it as “fundamentally, a levelling progress”.
The facets of equality are:

  • Absence of special privileges to or of discriminations against anyone in the matter of socio-economic and political rights. No person or group should have special conditions that are denied to a large majority. For e.g., In the caste hierarchy, the lower castes were discriminated against while upper castes flourished as they had special status and privileges.
  • Equality before law and equal protection of the law – The law is equally applicable to everyone irrespective of economic or social status, race, creed, etc.
  • Equality of opportunity – To enhance one’s potential and to develop one’s personality irrespective of considerations like ethnicity, gender, community, etc. Deprived sections must have provisions for education, employment and social wellbeing to enable fair competition with others.
  • Absolute equality is neither possible nor desirable as equality in no way implies uniformity.

Maharashtra Board Class 11 Political Science Notes Chapter 3 Equality and Justice

History Of Equality:
The idea of equality has been studied since ancient Greek times, in the context of struggles against absolute monarchy and unequal social conditions. In his work ‘The Politics, Aristotle advocated equality before law and explained the correlation between equality and justice.

His idea of equality was with reference to the ruler and the ruled whom he considered naturally unequal on basis of inequality in intellectual abilities. Thomas Hobbes in his book ‘Leviathan’ explained that all persons must be treated as equals in spite of existing physical or intellectual inequalities.

Tocqueville’s idea of equality developed in the process of abolition of the feudal system and establishment of democracy. Rousseau analyzed natural inequalities (due to differences in physical strength, intellectual abilities, etc.) and man-made inequalities (arising due to private property, division of labour and exploitation by the rich). Equality could be brought about by natural law.

Karl Marx propounded the socialist idea of equality i.e. it can be achieved by creating a ‘classless society. He gave importance to emancipation of workers from exploitation and to equitable distribution of the means of production.

Indian Context:
Many sections of Indian society exhibits obstacles to social equality arising due to caste hierarchy and subsequent discrimination as well as due to a patriarchal system. Most social reformers have worked towards creation of a just society. Mahatma Phule focused on elimination of discriminations based on caste and gender.

Justice Mahadev Govind Ranade worked in areas of women’s rights and promoting widow remarriage.
Mahatma Gandhi focused on socio-economic and gender equality. Dr. Babasaheh Amhedkar also focused on social, cultural, political and economic equality through elimination of the caste system.

Importance Of Equality:

  • Equality is necessary to uphold the dignity of the individual.
  • It is necessary to create a just society.
  • It is necessary to promote mutual respect among members of a society.
  • It helps to bring about fraternity.
  • Liberty and equality are the cornerstones of a democracy.

Maharashtra Board Class 11 Political Science Notes Chapter 3 Equality and Justice

Types Of Equality:
→ Natural Equality considers that all human beings are equal though they differ in abilities. Every person should get equal opportunity to develop his/her potential. Early Greek thinkers like Plato and Aristotle did not believe in natural equality. However, thinkers like Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau explained about natural equality in the ‘State of Nature’.

→ Social Equality refers to absence of unreasonable social barriers or discrimination such as those based on race, religion, caste, gender, status, etc. No person must be viewed as superior or inferior merely on the basis of birth, ethnicity or social position.

→ However, social inequality is prevalent all over the world even today. Legislations, education and economic progress can help to reduce social inequality for e.g., in India Article 17 of the constitution deals with the abolition of untouchability.

→ Civil Equality means that civil rights are equally available to all individuals. There is equality before law and equal protection of the law. However, special laws made for the protection or upliftment of weaker sections of society such as tribals, backward classes, women, etc., do not violate the principle of equality.

→ Political Equality is possible only in a democracy. It refers to the right of citizens to participate in the affairs of the state. It is based on the principle of political participation and Universal Adult Franchise.

→ Economic Equality – When wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few (economic inequality), then political power and social ranking is also monopolized by them, resulting in exploitation of the underprivileged sections of society. Economic equality does not imply equal distribution of wealth or equal income irrespective of the nature of work.

Economic equality implies to the following –

  • Reduction in wide disparities of wealth.
  • Prevention of concentration of wealth and income in the hands of a few persons.
  • Absence of any kind of economic exploitation, denial or subjugation.
  • Availability of essential goods and services i.e. minimum needs must be satisfied first.
  • Reasonable economic opportunities for individuals to develop themselves and to progress.
  • Adequate scope for work and for decent wages.

Maharashtra Board Class 11 Political Science Notes Chapter 3 Equality and Justice

Meaning: Justice implies righteousness, which is used as a basis for judging values and conduct. It is an ancient concept. Greek philosopher, Socrates considered justice as a political virtue. Plato identified justice with truth and morality while Aristotle expressed that justice can be achieved in a society only when there is equality and balance. In ancient India, justice was associated with the concept of ‘Dharma’.

Types of Justice:
The term justice refers to a state of affairs in which every individual has exactly those burdens and benefits which are due to him.

Natural Justice – This concept is linked to the very existence of human beings and was advocated by ancient Greek and Roman philosophers. Humans can intrinsically and universally understand concepts of right and wrong. Hence there is no need for man-made law.

Legal Justice – John Austina considered law as a means to eliminate injustice and to establish a just society. Justice is a precondition to law.

Social Justice – The concept of social justice implies equal social opportunities to every individual to progress to the fullest possible extent. Social justice is reformative i.e., it aims at a revision of the social order.

It involves eradication of existing social evils. Social justice is also distributive i.e., available resources should be equitably distributed to ensure social welfare. It is not just related to individuals or groups, but to society at large.

Social justice is dynamic i.e. it modifies according to changing needs and situations.
The two approaches of social justice are

  1. Procedural justice advocated by Nozick i.e., everyone should be treated equally before law and proper legal procedures must be followed
  2. Social justice propagated by Marx, Rawls and Dr. Ambedkar. According to Karl Marx, the state is an instrument of exploitation of the workers and ‘have-nots’. Transformation of a capitalist system into a socialist system will ensure an equitable distribution of resources. Rawls advocated the concept of distributive justice and the principle of fairness.