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25 February, 2020 00:00 00 AM


Human rights and social justice must be ensured by the state

Rights to which all people throughout the world are entitled by virtue of their humanity is nothing new
Dr. Forqan Uddin Ahmed
Human rights and social justice must be ensured by the state


In the society, men must have rules to regulate their conduct towards one another and someone amongst them to demand and enforce obedience to those rules. Human is a rational being, in order to prove its superiority over other living being has to abide by a set of values, rules and principles collectively called Law, which regulates the conduct and relationship of the members of the society enforceable under the sanction of the State and is in essence the foundation of the society and State. At the time, the people used to be ruled by a person or a group of persons. There was no such necessity for promulgating law and to administer the people the will of the rulers was enough but with the growth of the society and concept of democratic State the importance of Law to regulate the conduct of human life without Law can not be conceived of and law is the instrument of social order. The law is so intimately connected with the society that it cannot be isolated from the life in the society. It is not only the foundation of the society but also is an index of the civilization. The supremacy and superiority of law is univesally recognized for regulating the conduct of human being in the modern society particularly when democratic principles and norms are followed. Law is above all and nobody is above Law is now established and universally accepted in all the States for regulating the life of the man. The Rule of Law’s central core comprises the enduring values of regularity and restrain embodied in the slogan of a “Government of Laws and not men” for establishing Rule of Law doors of Law and law courts must remain open for tile access to all section of the people, particularly the disadvantaged and financially handicapped.

Rights to which all people throughout the world are entitled by virtue of their humanity is nothing new. The men who fought the War of Liberation and established the People’s Republic of Bangladesh successfully guranteed Human Rights through the written constitution wherein all the concepts of Human Rights had in fact been embodied in the nature of fundamental Rights. The Fundamental Rights no doubt are subject to law, which may take infringement on these rights for greater good and for greater number of people. The Article 5 of universal Declaration of human rights are as follows: “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” In our Constitution, similar provision has been embodied in clause (5) of Article 35. Our Constitution prohibits degrading treatment and punishment to offenders. In spite of this provision, such treatment is still being carried out by our professional men engaged in the task of law and order.

The univeral Declartion of Human Rights adopted on 10.12.1648 is a great chapter in the history of man’s struggle for his quest for liberty, freedon from the oppressions and the right to be treated equally in courts of law and to have equal protection of law. Some Articles from the universal Declaration of Human Rights from the U.N. charter will be worth mentioning in this connection. Articles IV(3). 2 and (7) of the U.N charter speak of the fundamental Principles of Human Rights. Articles 55 deserve particular mention. “With a view to creating conditions of stability and well being which are necessary for peaceful and friendly relations among nations, based on respect for principles of equal rights and self determination of peoples, the United Nations shall promote universal respects and observance of human rights and fundamental freedom for all without distinction as to race, sex language or religion.”

Social justice has a reference to the natural rights of men that all men are equal, born free and equally sharing the common bounties of nature. The claim of equally or any of its cognate expression in the social, economic and political realm, is fundamentally natural, equality bereft of discrimination based on grounds of race, creed and heredity, is the principle invoked mainly for the implementation of justice in social, political and economic fields. In western philosophy Plato was the first thinker to give the world the theories of ideas reflecting the vision of equality of men but he could not go to the extent of slavery anything against which was the antithesis of the theory, of equality. Slavery was ultimately abolished by the British Empire by Emancipation Act 1833. The Americans could abolish it during the time of Abraham Lincoln who laid down his life for the cause of emancipation of slaves. Social justice was initially doctrine of social philosophy but ultimately it has entered into statecraft and has occupied a place on the constitutional field. Social justice secured equality political justice secured liberty.

The Glorious Revolution of 1688 in England with the achievement of Bill of Right (1889), the American War of Independent in 1779, the French Revolution with ist declaration of human rights of Men (1789) and Russian Revolution in 1917 against the despotism of czars were political in outlook and but where motivated by social.

The fatal on slaught of the divine right of kings was the political corollary of great social upheaval, which was more a rebellion against inequality than against despotism. The revolution has the main purpose of reorientation of the society, which had previously consisted of privileged and the unprivileged class. The relish of the natural right of men in the liberty, equality and fraternity was the dedication of revolution to mankind, social justice narrowed down to happiness to the greates number economic justice which is also a counterpart of social justice.  The state exists for the welfare of the society and is a means to an end. The modern state has undertaken the arduous task of over all development of man and society in all walks of life. The basic duty of a welfare state is to redeem mankind from hunger, ignorance, misery and other social and economic ills. It is to undertaken and safeguard mental, physical and moral health of individuals by making provision for housing, employment, decent standard of living and leisure and recreation. All those are to be done by legislation, which is the added liability of the state and has widened the field of administration of justice. This enjoins upon the state to set away how justice is to be administrated. When the justice was administrated by kings, there was no system of laws. To ensure the impartiality, the admisnitration of justice was handed over to the impartial persons. There are some universal laws, which cannot be changed. The Constitution of differen countries may be different but the human trend, common to all, is that each one of them aspires to secure justice by the Government of laws and not of persons and therefore the fundamentals of justice are universal and imitable. The natural justice is justice indeed and in the reality while the legal justice is more or less formulation of natural justice by civil law for the direction of courts and tribunals by which the justice is administrated.

The Parliament is sovereign but the sovereignty of Parliament does not mean the power to legislate arbitrarily. If the Parliament legislate law against the morality and against the principle of fair play, such legislation can be knocked down by the judiciary, which is supreme in the field of administration of justice. Man is the creation of nature and member of the society and on this assumption justice can be of two kinds: natural and social. Therefore, circumstances of the just state are the concurrence with the just order of the society.

Just state is that which strives to promote the welfare of the people as efficaciously and possible. The state strives to secure social justice for her people, the right to adequate means of livelihood, to secure equality before the law and equal protection of law in day-to-day life and in the court of justice. In the language of Salmond, “Justice is the harmonious reconcilement of individual conduct with the general welfare of the society, social wisdom to regulate the routine of public life, law and justice are co-related. Justice is not only to be coneived but has to be percieved and justice also must appear to be meaningfully done.”

Ours is a democratic State and all the ideas for a welfare state ensuring Human Rights declared in the Declaration of Human Rights in the UNO has been embodied in our Constitution, either as fundamental rights or as a fundamental principle of the State Policy. So, we can say that Human rights & social justice can be ensured by the responsibility of state.

The writer is a regular contributor to

The Independent



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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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