A Leap Towards An Inclusion Driven Justice System
By Adithya S Nair
Runner up of Diversity Essay Scholarship
History tells us how certain populace grant themselves the divine right to liberate the world population by homogenising it. From Cyrus of Persia to Adolf Hitler, they always felt they had the imprimatur to conquer and subjugate all who they deemed uncivilised. They consid-ered themselves as a liberating force, which had a divine impetus to control people who they thought were enslaved to inferior indigenous cultural or racial identities. “It has always been us versus them” as mentioned by Yuval Noah Harrari in his book Sapiens, where “Us” stands for whom we shall preserve and “Them” stands for the others that live, yet have ceased to exist to “Us”. The demagogues instil this idea into the minds of the populace they seek to control. They portray other identities as a common enemy to stir unity among their followers, using hatred as a tool to command a perennial meaningless war. In the next decade, this act of populism and disintegration threatens to erode the grassroots of justice and freedom. Peo-ple are treated differentially on the basis of their race, caste, gender, wealth, nationality, class and religion routinely. The relative and absolute social mobility assessment of the world will clearly indicate that one’s economic and educational success is perceptibly proportional to one’s family’s standing on the chart of privileges. The entitlement they are awarded, not by merit, but by human imagination of societal structure. To overcome this hazard, students need to gain experience through close contact with diverse identities. One must reach a point where one can be immersed in a heterogeneous mixture of people and still be able to find ho-mogeneity.
One has to expand the boundaries of thought, transcending the norms of one’s own beliefs as the legal system is not just the guardian angel of the rights of a certain populace but has to incorporate different peoples. A collective sense of responsibility to protect rights without exception needs to be cultivated in future generations. It has to instil a sense of hope in the vulnerable, that there is an omnipresent entity which will provide strength in times of exploi-tation and ensure justice. It is the moral duty of the justice system to scrutinise everyone on an equal plane and to uplift the oppressed. For this the Lady Justice cannot be blind, it has to take cognisance of everything that is immersed in the medium of justice. The allegorical exist-ence of Lady Justice can only be realised by well equipped legal guardians, who were culti-vated in an environment that integrates sundry other identities, else their thoughts will taper to aid only a few. It is imperative that law graduates are encouraged to broaden their spec-trum of understanding, hence transcending the boundaries separation between people from different strata of society. Where everyone is “Us”, and a stone thrown at anyone, is a stone thrown at everyone. Then the battle for justice is strong and the feeling of empathy is original, thus achieving the optimal utility of the education one received. This unity is the cornerstone for building an inclusive and just legal system. Like how only the right cogs will set the en-gine running, only people with the resolve to strive towards social integration can ensure the legal system serves its purpose. One can only implement the “Rule of Law” in letter and spirit if one can embrace every person, regardless of their social standing, as an equal.
For the transition of thought to happen, there needs to be a heterogeneous medium that ena-bles free interaction and understanding. Law schools lay the foundation for the progression of the legal system. Students who graduate from law schools are bestowed with the power and responsibility to indiscriminately protect people from all types of injustice. To instil that sense of propriety, there needs to be a fundamental understanding of liberty, equality and fra-ternity, the three foundational principles of a democratic polity. Fraternity being the driving force of any fruitful democracy, it is necessary to forge fraternal affection between students while embracing differences. It does not matter who the person is outside the walls of the classroom, but inside they are all students aspiring to be a crucial cog in the system of justice. This in-duplicable sense of togetherness that a diverse classroom creates, will burgeon empa-thy; which is essential for the integration of diversity in a judicial system. It holistically de-velops character, as one learns to understand and embrace the different schools of thought, thus widening perspective.
Legal professionals are the ones that need to enhance the present jurisprudence and give rise to a newer yet clearer understanding of the law. Law can only be progressive if it can ac-commodate a plethora of views and opinions, and that requires perspective on the basis of varied opinions, which can only flow from uninhibited imbibition of thoughts from diverse sections of people. In recent times, we have seen massive movements that stage valiant ef-forts to ensure rights for the LGBTQ+ community, and we have seen governments scurrying to create laws that are just superficial in tackling the problems faced by the community. It has been the legal community that stepped up their efforts to push to light the problems faced by the LGBTQ+ community and proposed comprehensive plans for legal inclusion. This fight encompassed people from around the globe, which also includes people who are not part of the LGBTQ+ community, people who took the effort to comprehend and resolve the prob-lems of a different populace of people selflessly. The sense of inclusivity only sprouts from the intertwining of different sections of the society, reiterating the need for the creation of a diverse environment to build an inclusive future.
The world is a library; every person is a different book. In a classroom it is important that we have books belonging to different genres, only then will the reader transform into one of en-lightenment. As Prof. Herbert Wechsler proposed the need for “Principles of Neutrality” to govern judicial activism, it is the responsibility of all legal institutions to produce neutral ju-rists. The neutrality of thought cannot be produced in a homogenous environment with the same success as it can be in a heterogeneous environment. Homogeneity caters to the human proclivity towards a singularity of thought, where the right is clearly demarcated from the wrong. In contrast, heterogeneity promises a multi-perspective approach, thus conveying a more complex understanding of right and wrong. This complexity decreases the margin for error by accommodating the greyer zones, ensuring maximum justice. It should always be in-grained in the mind of a law graduate while building a legal system, one has to consider the "Principle of Greatest Happiness” but from an innovative perspective. An approach where each community is individually considered and the greatest aggregate happiness of each community is affirmed to be positive. Thus, achieving “Universal Happiness” by treating each section of difference as an individual entity. This requires a brave step outside one’s comfort zone, into an unknown environment where the need to intermix arises. It is better to be a small fish in the ocean than a large one in a pond, the boundaries that each can scale are dif-ferent, in magnitude and in-depth.