JAC Board Class 8th Social Science Notes Civics Chapter 4 Understanding Laws
→ Do Laws Apply to All?
- Members instituted several provisions in the Constitution that would establish the rule of law.
- The most important of these was that all persons in independent India are equal before the law.
- The law cannot discriminate between persons on the basis of their religion, caste or gender.
- What the rule of law means is that all laws apply equally to all citizens of the country and no one can be above the law7.
- Any crime or violation of law has a specific punishment as well as a process through which the guilt of the person has to be established.
- In ancient India, there were innumerable and often overlapping local laws.
- Different communities enjoyed different degrees of autonomy in administering these laws among their own.
- The British colonialists introduced the rule of law in India.
→ Historians have disputed this claim on several grounds, two of which include:
- first that colonial law was arbitrary, and
- second that the Indian nationalists played a prominent role in the development of the legal sphere in British India.
→ The Sedition Act of 1870 – The idea of sedition was very broadly understood within this Act. Any person protesting or criticising the British government could be arrested without due trial.
- Indian nationalists also began fighting for greater equality and wanted to change the idea of law from a set of rules that they were forced to obey, to law as including ideas of justice.
- By the end of the nineteenth century, the Indian legal profession also began emerging and demanded respect in colonial courts.
- There w7ere several ways in which Indians played a major role in the evolution of the rule of law during the colonial period.
- Every year our representatives pass several new laws as well as amend existing ones.
→ How Do New Laws Come About?
- The Parliament has an important role in making laws.
- An important role of Parliament is to be sensitive to the problems faced by people.
- The role of citizens is crucial in helping Parliament frame different concerns that people might have into laws.
- The voice of citizen can be heard through TV reports, newspaper editorials, radio broadcasts, local meetings, all of which help in making the work that Parliament does more accessible and transparent to the people.
→ Unpopular and Controversial Laws:
- Sometimes a law can be constitutionally valid and hence legal, but it can continue to be unpopular and unacceptable to people because they feel that the intention behind it is unfair and harmful.
- In a democracy like ours, citizens can express their unwillingness to accept repressive laws framed by the Parliament.
- When a large number of people begin to feel that a wrong law has been passed, then there is pressure on the Parliament to change this.
- If the law favours one group and disregards the other it will be controversial and lead to conflict.
- People who think that the law is not fair can approach the court to decide on the issue.
- The court has the power to modify or cancel laws if it finds that they don’t adhere to the Constitution.
- We should bear in mind that it is the extent, involvement and enthusiasm of the people that helps Parliament perform its representative functions properly.