SOCIO-LEGAL ISSUE IN INDIA
Author: Radhika Dwivedi, II Year of B.B.A.,LL.B(Hons.) From NMIMS, Indore.
India is a country of diversities. Different religions, castes, traditions, languages, cultures and entangled social fabric are visible in India. The slavery of foreigners for centuries has produced many evils in Indian society. In particular, issues like casteism, women’s protection, communalism, economic inequality, religious bigotry and poverty, hunger remain the social legal issues of our great country.
Legal empowerment and justice system a historical phenomenon and has developed basis societal conditions and changes from time to time over centuries. Social justice is hence a critical factor in the legal justice system and its coverage. As the society matures, more and more social issues are taken care by Judicial System and tries to solve them. Few of the issues are being discussed here under.
The Constitution of India gives equal rights to all citizens at social, economic, political and education levels. All citizens have equal rights. At any level, there can be no discrimination against any citizen. But in reality, the country is still far away from this legal right. Even after seventy years of independence, there is discrimination among citizens at some legal level, at some social level. The caste system in India has its roots in ancient India. In ancient India, rules and duties in terms of a person’s life, varna or caste were determined by his actions. All professions were the same. Everyone was seen with respect, but first the faulty system of the Mughals and later the British divided the society into permanent castes. Today is the biggest social legal challenge of the country. The society is divided into upper and lower castes.
Discrimination is highly tragic for the lower castes. Socially it is abusive. At the same time, reservation has been provided to the following castes in the name of social equality. It reduces the right of upper-class people. This is a big issue. If the upper class is demanding the abolition of reservation, then the lower class wants more rights over resources by giving their discriminatory past. Even after seven decades of independence, there has been no consensus in the country on this issue. According to me this is India’s biggest social legal issue.
The constitution gives equal right to both men and women in every field. Women have been given many rights after independence. Right to vote, right to legal marriage, inheritance of property, divorce, dowry rights. The Equal Remuneration Act was passed in 1976 to provide equal remuneration to men. Muslim women have recently gained rights against triple talaq. But even after getting the legal strength at social level, women are facing many challenges socially.
The right to equal labor is only on paper. In the private sector, women are generally less working than men. The situation is that even if a seat is secured in an election in rural areas and she wins and holds a position, her husband or relatives takes the responsibility in her place. Although these Kurutis are slowly decreasing but at a very low slow pace. Women have the right to equal share in property. But 80 per cent of the women in the country still do not get a share in the property of the mother and father. In rural areas, this percentage is more than 95 per cent. If a woman asks for her share, only relatives oppose her. Women are now getting more opportunities than ever before in sectors like military and defense. But this opportunity is available only to limited area and limited women. In rural areas, women are still struggling for education and equal opportunities.
Economic disparity is a challenging social legal issue in India. According to the Global Wealth Report, 10 per cent of India’s rich people own 77.4 percent of the country's wealth. On the other hand, 60 per cent of the people own only 4.7 per cent property. 6 percent of these people are those whose income is less than hundred rupees. Millions of people still do not have the bread for two days. At the same time only ten percent people have acquired two-thirds of the country's wealth. This inequality destroys the fabric of the country. Increases poverty and unemployment. Social harmony also ends because of this inequality. As such, everyone has the right to live legally and live honorably. But at the ground level it has many punchdiggies. It does not look the same on the ground.
RURAL AND URBAN DIVIDE
The country's major social challenge is that 70 percent of the population in India lives in the village. But in the name of facilities, there is not even thirty percent facilities as compared to cities. The agricultural sector is continuously backward and youth are migrating continuously to the cities. Farming has become a continuous loss. There are several thousand villages in the country where only the elderly is left to live. The youth have left the villages in the hope of employment and better facilities. The reason for this is the lack of facilities in rural areas. The youth who lead a livelihood by farming are troubled. Because of this, the farmers want to get more facilities and discounts through constant agitation. In recent days, farmers are agitating all over the country on the issue of support price and free market. Discrimination in urban and rural life remains a big challenge and social issue before the country.
Originally, India is a country of people living in harmony, harmony and equality with all religions and all castes. But for some decades religious fundamentalism has challenged the integrity and unity of the country. The incidents of maw leaching along with religious riots and terrorist incidents have spoiled India's name in the world. Legally, governments are dealing with convicts influenced by fundamentalist ideology, yet religious segregation in all the states of the country poses a major challenge. Similarly, caste-sharing is also a big issue. For example, when the Supreme Court made changes in Section 3 a few years ago, there was uproar in the whole country. Police have the right to arrest anyone without investigation on the report of Scheduled Caste Scheduled Tribes. It was the subject of arrest only after being investigated. But the change was not liked and there were fierce movements across the country. There are many issues which still remain social legal issues before the country. Apart from this, many social legal issues have been emerging in India. Issues like workers' rights, children's rights, dowry system, unemployment, illiteracy, starvation, remain a challenge even after centuries
As I said, India is a country full of diversities. There are around 121 major languages, spoken by groups. Apart from the languages included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution, each state has its own mother tongue. There are 60 languages whose number of speakers is more than one million. This is also the beauty of the country, as well as trouble for the unity of the country. The mother tongue of India is Hindi. But there is strong opposition to Hindi in South Indian states. The protest is of such a level that if the names of railway stations, banks or public places are written in Hindi then there will be uproar. North Indian citizens do not feel familiar in South India and South Indian citizens in North India. The same is with the residents of the Indian states of the North East.
Recently, when the central government formulated an education policy, it was recommended to include Hindi in primary education. There was a sharp reaction in the South Indian states. The Center had to clarify that this was not mandatory. This attitude is towards Maharashtra's Marathi, West Bengal's Bengali, Odisha's Oriya. There is also linguistic radicalism in Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, Assamese linguistic states. Because of this, India could never be integrated into linguistic unity.
I am from Chhattisgarh. The major challenge of Chhattisgarh is Naxalism flourishing here. Naxalism is deeply affected in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh adjoining Chhattisgarh and Chhattisgarh. Till now thousands of people have lost their lives in Naxal attacks. It is a socio-economic and legal dispute. Naxalites do not believe in the Constitution of India even while living in the country. They demand that full rights of water, forest and land should be given to the people living there. Make decisions there. They should have power there. The tribals in particular should be empowered to govern and control the natural resources. It is against the Constitution of India. Because of this, the Government of India has deployed about 50 thousand paramilitary forces in Chhattisgarh itself. Apart from this, more than 30 thousand soldiers are deployed in border states.
Tribals lose their lives in a war between jawans and Naxalites. The martyrdom of hundreds of soldiers has been done so far and the Naxalites have also lost their lives. All of these people are citizens of India who die. But this tension has not ended because of disagreements with the law. This social legal issue remains a major obstacle in India's development.
SEPARITISM AND TERRORISM
Similarly, terrorist attack in Kashmir is also a social legal issue. A group of citizens there challenge the power of India. He keeps demanding the independence of his kingdom. However, because of the abolition of Article 370 recently, terrorism in Kashmir has reduced considerably. But it is yet to be fully controlled. In many states of the Northeast, small groups clash with governments because of hostility. Their demands are local. And socially they keep demanding complete independence. Organizations like United Liberation Front of Assam, National Democrat Front of Bodoland in Assam keep demanding separate statehood. In many states like Manipur, Tripura, Nagaland, extremist organizations are active about their demands. These organizations see their existence as a separate country on linguistic, cultural and geographical basis. However, the central government has always kept open the way for limited power usage and dialogue with these organizations. Because of this, many extremist organizations have formed a mindset to fulfill their demands while staying in India. But these still remain stressful social legal issues for the country.
Social issues are a problem that influences the common citizen of a country and as Justice is a fundamental pillar of Indian Democracy and Constitution, the law makers and law keepers need to be proactive to cater to the social injustice and inequalities from time to time
Social issue can be a part of our history, traditions and cultural stereotypes. And every country in the world faces different social issues like racism, illiteracy, inequality etc. so is India. India being an old civilization with multiple rulers from time to time, has its own social issues. Unfortunately, in the modern world more than 29% of Indians live in poverty. Hence it is utmost duty of all citizen the true civilizational values of Social Justice
Lastly, Social issue, if they are not solved can lead to dissatisfactions, disruptions and violence. As we all move towards a new millennial with technology as a new normal, social legal issues will take newer forms and shapes. We have to prepared to tackle the same as always.