Saturday, December 5, 2020

No justice

There is no denial that there should be a human face to justice. Justice can be blind but it can’t be brute. Some respect for human sensibility is to be guaranteed under humanitarian law. States cannot rebuff mind-count and reflect upon only head-count in its lexicon of justice. There is a need to mull over the very basic notion of justice and re-visit what Amartya Sen termed as the “tyranny of ideas” that actually shapes the delivery of justice. According to Sen, the idea of justice is more than an intellectual discourse, as he believes that it plays a real role in how, and how well, people live. Looking at justice in a new way, Sen rejects the idea of a “perfectly just society”, and as an alternative, lays emphasis on identifying the “remedial injustices”, like oppression in various forms, and finding out how they could be rectified and “on the removal of which there would be a reasoned agreement”. As such, it is implied that there is no complete justice existing anywhere. The relative meaning of justice is to be derived from institutions and mores of any society, and of course, the State’s moral and political philosophy. But, this is the ground where justice usually has to face the slippery trajectory. Justice is morphed by the “tyranny of ideas” (borrowing Sen’s term) that actually shapes the delivery of justice. When Saddam was executed, West upheld its own benchmark of defining terror and disseminating the message of retribution across the world. The operation of Bin Laden’s extermination was again weighed on the ideological, political and diplomatic fulcrum. Kasab’s capital punishment too had a concept of violent treatment to a violent perpetrator. In all these cases, the balance of justice budged as per the State’s understanding of its internal and external domain. So, as the dynamics change, the perspectives and responses on justice become situational. In our State, we see the frailty of ‘peace’ that continues to perpetuate the idea of injustice. More so, it demeans the politics of perversion that considers good governance just as sheer ‘development’. It also refutes politics to be about human advance that takes cognizance of human dignity to lead a life it values. For that inevitably involves understanding the subversive emotions, to do away with injustices of all shades. The fact is that in our society, the notion of justice has been ironically rendered too difficult and vague to fit in any frame or discourse as people continue to be witness to the narrative of injustice only. What pains is the way the course of law is turned into a political act. Justice is linked up with politics of opportunism and pretence. People here can sense injustice – they can touch injustice by seeing criminals and killers even going scotfree in the name of maintaining peace. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “When evil men plot, good men must plan….Where evil men would seek to perpetuate an unjust status quo, good men must seek to bring into being a real order of justice”. There is a dire need to struggle for simple answers to unrelenting suffering in our State. People continue to live in fear. Justice seems to have been scrapped from their life as well as lexicon. The lack of political foresight and acumen continues to doom the place. It needs honesty of purpose and sincerity of thought to salvage our land and people from getting beleaguered. Let those who matter in the scheme of things realize that they cannot afford to see the drama of injustice enacted every now and then. Justice is not a mysterious realm. Of all the morphed meaning. Or of all the deliberate abstraction and tortured syntax. It is a practical domain that goes beyond the established intricacies of our collective and individual deceptions and self-deceptions. It is, in fact, deceptions that add extra layers of reinforcement to every condition of injustice.