Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

Justice is Impossible without Equality

Human beings have evolved in various aspects of their lives. Particularly, in their social and political lives they have made great strides and they have reached to today’s modern democratic system. This system has been able to satisfy their social and political needs to certain extent; however, certain important considerations are still overlooked. One of the main issues that still remain unattended pertains to justice and equal rights for all the people of the society alike. There are many people in the world who are deprived of even their basic human rights; while, the justice system seems incapable of providing them those rights. One of the basic reasons that human beings are not able to develop justice and provide equal rights to every human being is the lack of equality. Since, the golden rule of equality has been forgotten, and it has been attributed to a particular system, the foundations for justice have not been laid appropriately and, therefore, human beings saunter in search of justice and equal rights uselessly.
Equality is undoubtedly an important prerequisite to justice and it is basically equality that guarantees equal rights to all the citizens living in a state. Equality implies the following things. First, all persons should be provided with adequate opportunities for the development of the personality. Second, no class or caste or group enjoys special privileges which are not available to other members of the society. Third, there should not be any discrimination among members of society and if there is any discrimination it should be on reasonable grounds. Thus, it does not prevent special treatment of handicapped and backward persons so that they can be brought at par with others. Fourth, rights are equally distributed among all and all have equal access to opportunities leading to authority.
The concept of equality is not basically very old, though we get some tracers of the concept in the writing of the Stoics as well as the Romans. It was only in the latter half of the eighteenth century that the concept gained popularity. The French Revolution of 1789 was largely a protest against the prevailing inequalities and the Revolutionaries adopted the Declaration of the Rights of Man (1789) asserting, “Men are born and always continue to be free and equal in respect of their rights.” But, it was only in the present century that effort was made to eliminate inequalities in the economic and social sphere and necessary laws were enacted to protect the interests of the workers. It was emphasized that equality in the economic sphere was more important than equality in the civil and political spheres. It was asserted that political liberty without economic equality was a myth. The decline of imperialism and colonialism and the emergence of a large number of independent states in Asia, Africa and Latin America gave a further impetus to the principle of equality. All the states began to be treated as equals at the international levels irrespective of their size, resources and importance. The war against racial discrimination and the introduction of universal franchise further strengthened the doctrine of equality. Most of the modern states devoted great attention to the improvement of economic lot of the deprived ones to bring about economic equality. Yet, there are serious matters to be resolved in this regard.
According to modern political principles, a state should make sure that the citizens have (1) Civil Equality – Equality of all before law, (2) Political Equality – Equal rights to participate in the affairs of the state, (3) Social Equality – No discrimination among citizens on the basis of social status, caste, color, creed, rank, etc., (4) Economic Equality – Equality in the opportunities to have sound economy. Unfortunately, these equalities are not guaranteed in many countries of the world and we have discontentment among the people.

As a matter of fact, political equality can never be achieved unless it is accompanied with economic equality.  Without economic equality, political power and authority is limited to the elite. It is difficult to imagine how without economic equality political authority can reach to the common people and they are able to play any role in it. It is important to remember that economic equality does not imply that there should be equal distribution of wealth, because this sort of equality is incapable of realization. On the other hand, it means that there should not be concentration of wealth in few hands only and certain minimum standards of income should be assured to all before anyone can be allowed to have more. In other words, the basic needs of all should be met before some people are permitted to lead a luxurious life. Unfortunately, these concepts are being neglected in today’s world and we see thousands who suffer because of inequality and discrimination.