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A Brief Essay On Inductive And Deductive Legal Research

What we think is what we become is a well-known aphorism. Our thoughts and line of reasoning must be guided by objectivism instead of being mired in prejudice, stereotypes and unverified assumptions. In a society like India where, individuals and communities suffer from an inter-sectionality of discrimination, vertically and horizontally, the realities of our social structure make it essential that objectivity is preserved not as a matter of convenience but as an unbreachable virtue.

This talisman becomes all the more relevant for the occupants of key positions, such as those who play the role of judges, lawyers, academecians, etc. They constantly help in expounding and evolving the lex loci, which is paramount in achieving the social revolution which our Constitution seeks to achieve. This essay throws light on the inductive and deductive methodologies of reasoning and their relevance to legal research

Introduction
Our Constitution which seeks to be an instrument ushering in a social revolution aims at promoting an egalitarian society. It is cognizant of the practical asymmetries in the power relations in our society that operate both vertically and horizontally. The myriad shades of discrimination in the form of gender, caste, ethnicity, e.tc are only indicative illustrations.

During the first year of the global pandemic caused by the Corona Virus (2019-2020), A study commissioned by the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) on racial discrimination and hate crimes against people from the northeast States found that the northeast India seamlessly fits [an] Indian's imagination of a Chinese person.

While North-easterners have traditionally faced discrimination due to a variety of reasons, what is critical is the ramifications that these aberrations of the social psyche can result into during extraordinary circumstances such as the pandemic.

When access to justice and critical healthcare is already constrained, it could lead to exacerbation of the difficulties faced by millions of vulnerable people. This case-study only underscores the need for preserving the dignity of human life and protection of fundamental rights. In fact the Indian judiciary has been very vocal about the transformative role which the constitution must play in rectifying the imbalances within our society.

Empowered with the philosophy of a constitutional morality that trumps all forms of injustice, real or imagined, the Supreme Court of India rechristened the social revolution as transformative Constitutionalism. what needs to be understood is the what room is there for logic in this great feat of transforming the Indian society.

How judges decide cases?

The law, its creation and operation, and adjudication form part of a single coherent system. There must be consistency in the norms of that system for efficient functioning of the same. MacCormick says that:
All rules which are rules of law are so because they belong to a particular legal system, and that they belong to the system because they satisfy formal criteria of recognition operative within that system as an effective working social order. Rules cannot be cabined, they operate only through their application by judges and judges arrive at decisions by applying rules to situations of fact that come before them.

Pitfalls of the deductive approach

This deductive approach of legal reasoning, which essentially derives a conclusion by perfect logical processes from well-defined premises, though helpful in deciding many cases cannot apply to multi-dimensional scenarios involving human beings without many challenges. Let us take the example of a minor boy, five years in age, who is pressed for subsistence to perform manual work in lieu of wages.

His work, in abstention from regular schooling, is illegal by implication if we follow strict deductive methods, that is to say that one, he lives in an area where the particular law forbidding child labour is in application, second , he is a child because he falls within the definition of a child by virtue of his age falling within the parameters set by the law, third, the law prohibits in toto the engagement of a person of such age in any kind of work, without exception and that he is engaged in the same. He must as a result be injuncted from continuing with his present occupation and his employer must be penalized as per the same logic.

However the above approach has many pitfalls, seen from another angle. First the boy could be the only earning member of his family and barring him from work could deprive the entire family of their bare subsistence. Secondly, the question as to whether the state has put in place an alternative system in the form of an efficient distribution network of foodgrains and other basic amenities must not escape our discussion. Thirdly, even if in place, is access to such provisions easy, if not what is the nature of impediments that the child could face? This kind of holistic questioning leads us to the conclusion that barring the child from work might not necessarily be beneficial to him, in the absence of state's affirmative intervention. This brings us closer to the idea of Bounded rationality.

The Concept of Bounded Rationality

There are two reasons for perfect or deductive rationality to break down under complication. The obvious one is that beyond a certain level of complexity human logical capacity ceases to cope-human rationality is bounded. The other is that in interactive situations of complication, agents cannot rely upon the other agents they are dealing with to behave under perfect rationality, and so they are forced to guess their behavior. This lands them in a world of subjective beliefs, and subjective beliefs about subjective beliefs.

Modern psychologists are in reasonable agreement that in situations that are complicated or ill-defined, humans use characteristic and predictable methods of reasoning. These methods are not deductive, but inductive… we are superb at seeing or recognizing or matching patterns-behaviors that confer obvious evolutionary benefits. In problems of complication then, we look for patterns; and we simplify the problem by using these to construct temporary internal models or hypotheses or schemata to work with.

Thus, even governments have come to frame their policies around a feedback oriented approach. During the Corona Virus Pandemic induced lockdowns, often termed in the popular media as the Great Lockdown, governments such as our own followed the Bayesian updating approach to handle the challenge before them given the uncertainties surrounding the causative and resultant factors involved in the pandemic.

Bayesian updating is an instance of a combined deductive-inductive approach, a potential tool for public policy and legal applications. Bayes' theorem, named after 18th-century British mathematician Thomas Bayes, is a mathematical formula for determining conditional probability.

Conditional probability is the likelihood of an outcome occurring, based on a previous outcome occurring. Bayes' theorem provides a way to revise existing predictions or theories (update probabilities) given new or additional evidence.

Conclusion
While we our society is embroiled in superstitions and prejudices that could irreparably lead to the othering of an individual or a community or sometimes even lead to wastage of public resources or exchequer money, the traditions of logic are deepy rooted in India. In fact, it was the Nyaya and Vaisheshika schools of ancient philosophy which laid the foundations of modern physical sciences and taught us to see an atom as an atom. It is these early atomists and that laid the foundations of reason based judgement and decision making. Therefore, logic is an ancient legacy in India. However, true progress can only be realized when that legacy is reclaimed and made more popular in all spheres of public and individual life.

Amartya Sen observes that:
the exaggerated focus on religiosity has (also) contributed to an underestimation of the reach of public reasoning in India and the diversity of its coverage.

Thus for laws to be successful, a top down approach might not be the best way to bring about a social revolution. Sometimes in pursuit of its egalitarian goals, judges import philosophies influenced by their western counterparts which might be highly erroneous for Indian needs. Therefore, logic demands a clear connection with our social realities. In the spirit of the fundamental mandate prescribed by the Constitution of India, we must endeavour to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform.

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