Law can simply be defined as a set of rules that are used to regulate or control
a society. Control is necessary in a society because it is always necessary to
maintain a balance between society and the individuals that live in it so that
they can cohabit interdependently, which will aid in social change. A society is
a diverse community that includes people of many classes, castes,
creeds, colors, genders, and backgrounds. It is critical that no distinction be
made between these individuals, regardless of their identities, in order to
achieve homogeneity, which can only be achieved via the application of
Every society and its citizens look forward to social change since a
positive change is always welcome. The function of law in bringing about social
transformation is critical. Harmony and peace between people and society are
lacking in a lawless society. Due to various elements such as money, power, and
prestige, one group of individuals can always be in a position of authority and
control over the other groups who are comparatively weak in a society made up of
many sorts of people.
This situation is not unusual, since every culture has
encountered it at some point. Not only that, but society also faces a number of
other problems. Poverty, drug misuse, corruption, prostitution, rape, lynching,
child marriage, acid assaults, child labor, and discrimination based on caste,
race, color, and gender are only a few examples. Law serves as a driving force
for society to overcome all obstacles by enacting legislation and statutes that
will make a difference in today's and future societies.
The society has
undergone various changes in recent years, and while the law has aided in these
changes, it is important to remember that societal challenges are not going
away; rather, they are intensifying. It is past time for society to make optimal
use of current laws so that they can be successful in bringing about meaningful
social transformation. As a result, the answer to the issue of how the law might
be utilized to bring about social change resides inside the society and its
The relationship between law and social change
Economic, political, legal, and sociological disciplines all utilize the phrase
"social change." This implies that societal transformation is impacted by a
number of factors. Law is the most important subject among the others since it
is a code that governs society. The highest power in the hands of states to
control what is good and wrong in society is the law.
Law is there not only to
give a set of norms by which a society should operate, but also to provide
regulations that the society is expected to accept in its own way in order to
protect the welfare of its citizens. Traditionally, the rules that society used
to control itself in order to inject uniformity, consistency, and progress into
The established social standards assumed the form of the legislation.
People in society were expected to obey the rules in their daily lives, and
breaking them would result in a criminal or civil offence. Currently, the same
trend is being followed. The main difference is that current rules have been
amended in order to remodel society for a more appealing appearance.
link between law and society is so ancient, it takes nurturing and care to keep
it alive and well. Several studies have stated that legislation is the most
effective tool for controlling social change, yet social change may also become
a statute. The existence of numerous components in the environment causes social
The demographic structure, technical advancements, changes in people's
ideas, and an improvement in people's welfare are some of these factors and so
on. Benjamin Cardozo, an American judge, stated that law should not be
considered as a rigid tool attempting to bring about social change, but rather
as a flexible instrument of necessity bringing about societal good. This is also
the core of the Indian Constitution.
The authors of the Constitution were
emphatic that India should not be humiliated in any way after gaining
independence, as it had been for several years before to 1947. As a result, the
Indian Constitution may be cited as an example of how legislation can
be utilized to effect social change. Law is a highly dynamic subject, which
allows it to adapt to its surroundings. As a result, this topic may assist a
society in a variety of ways.
Theories involved in social changeThere are two hypotheses that explain how societal transformation might occur.
They are available under the following headings:
- Linear theory of social change- This theory of social change claims that
society improves and advances as it progresses toward a better civilization.
As a result, society evolves as a result of the transformation of its
- Cyclic theory of social change- This theory of social change claims that
the changes that occur in a society are cyclic in nature and so occur again.
As a result, this theory considers societal change to be continuous rather
than consistent. Theories of social change are incapable of bringing about
change in society; consequently, law is required. Law facilitates the
implementation of these notions by guiding them via processes. Social
movements cannot take place without legal restrictions.
Law as a controller of the society:Law may assist society in bringing about social change in two ways, as detailed
- By ensuring social stability and maintaining an ordered lifestyle within
- Bring about social change by adapting itself to meet the demands and
requirements of society and its people.
Both of these reasons speak to the need of establishing the rule of law in any
community, especially in a democratic country like India. The rule of law states
that no one is above the law of the nation, ensuring that law is the highest
factor that governs any civilization.
Law is a useful government agency that
establishes a social order that individuals must follow in order to avoid
avoidable disputes that might stymie the society's general progress. Law may be
used as a weapon by the state to install terror in the minds of the people so
that they do not break the law of the nation by their acts.
Fear is required to
raise public knowledge and consciousness so that individuals consider before
they do anything wrong, so safeguarding society's citizens from any type of
injustice that would exploit them and their life.
As a result, law makes a society worth living in. The public must be familiar
with the law as a social change instrument in order to comprehend social change.
Simply increasing public awareness of the law may have a significant impact on
how a society evolves. The second argument mentioned above considers legislation
as a source of public opinion, implying that the state takes measures in
response to popular requests.
The defamation statute, which the Rajiv Gandhi
government sought to introduce but later dropped because to popular resistance,
is an exemplary example of public opinion being molded in the jar of
legislation. This means that popular opinion takes the place of legislation
anytime it is necessary. As a result, legislation may be changed in any way that
the community desires in order to use it as a tool for social change.
The Indian Constitution as an instrument for social change
The Indian Constitution was enacted on January 26, 1950, by the Constitution
builders in order to give birth to a reformed India. The Constitution has a set
of basic rights stated in Part III of the Constitution that give individuals
with specific rights that must be controlled in order to bring about social
change throughout the country. Because Indians had been oppressed for numerous
years before to independence, the Constitution was enacted as a fundamental law
that would control the movement of all other laws in the country.
Taking into account the country's actual social structure at the time, the
Constitution's authors ensured that no social component would be left
unprotected. Other than the fundamental framework of the Constitution, as the
head of the Constitution's drafting committee, Dr. B.R. Ambedhkar, accurately
pointed out, the Constitution of India may be altered as and when the society
When the Supreme Court of India heard the landmark case of Kesavananda Bharati v. Union of India
, this was also taken into consideration.
One of the parts that make up the core framework of the Constitution is
fundamental rights. Certain fundamental rights are included in its ambit, and
they apply to every Indian citizen, regardless of their background.
The right to equality and equal protection under the law is discussed in Article
14 of the Constitution. The rule of law is promised as the core essence of the
Constitution in this very Article. Along with Article 14, the Constitution has
numerous additional articles that have been crucial in bringing about societal
The Constitution establishes not only fundamental rights, but
also a set of principles that the government must follow in order to manage the
nation's social developments. In Part IV of the Constitution, these ideas became
known as the Directive Principles of State Policy. Although there is no
requirement that these set of principles that the State is officially required
to adopt and apply are enforceable in a court of law, they are necessary in
order for the State to offer social justice to its citizens.
For many years,
social challenges such as poverty, discrimination, forced labor ,
and accountability have been firmly established in Indian culture. These social
issues were taken into consideration after the Constitution was enacted, and it
is true that India has overcome several social issues affecting the people and
the country as a whole.
The Indian Constitution was primarily created to strike
a balance between individual liberty and the promotion of social justice in the
country. Parts III and IV of the Constitution, taken combined, have been a
driving force in bringing about a social revolution in the country, and so have
established a conscience for the Constitution.
Ways in which law can be used as an instrument
for creating social change
Law, as a tool for bringing about social change, can be utilized in two ways:
- laws that bring about societal change
- The legislation is being changed by the society.
When someone argues that laws are bringing about change in society, they imply
that laws are forcing society to observe them in order to make a difference or
change in the current milieu. Untouchability, for example, has been a
long-standing societal concern. Untouchability should be outlawed, according to
Article 17 of the Indian Constitution.
As a result, the law brought about social
transformation by largely eliminating the social issue. Anyone who practices untouchability
will henceforth be prosecuted for breaking the law of the nation. When society
makes a legal reform, it signifies that society is adapting to the law in the
way that it wishes. Sati was a tradition in which wives were compelled to be
burned alive with their dead husbands. The Hindus were required to observe this
tradition. The society enacted steps to end the practice. As a result, society
influenced the existing legislation in some way.
Law: the ideal weapon for creating social
There have been various societal issues that legislation has addressed and
attempted to improve. The judges, according to Justice PN Bhagwati, have the
obligation of creating life and infusing blood into a legislative framework in
order to produce a living element that can suit the demands of society. Without
the support of legislators, law as a topic cannot control or bring about social
change. As a result, judges who have legal authority can utilize law as a tool
to effect social change.
The globe as a whole has been confronted with some
societal challenges that have hampered global progress. Before discussing how
the law has acted as a driver for society's automobile, it is vital to be aware
of specific social concerns for which the law has worked and should continue to
work in order to eradicate the problem entirely from the globe. Below are some
of the significant societal challenges that demand that the law be brought to
the ground and used as a tool for social change.
Racial prejudice is one such societal issue that has plagued many regions of the
world up to this point. Racial discrimination is when two groups of individuals
are treated unfairly because of their skin colour or ethnic heritage. Statistics
show that, as most Americans have stated, the globe still has a long way to go
in eliminating racial prejudice.
Racial prejudice has been widespread in parts
of America, Africa, and India. Racial prejudice fosters inequity in society,
which is both unfair and unjust. People have stated that the law has been
successful to some while failing to reach out to many about racial prejudice
while looking at an image of America. According to the Americans, although
Democrats believe that colour equality has not yet been attained, Republicans
believe that the legislation has already accomplished its goal of creating
equality between Blacks and Whites. Several nations have enacted
anti-discrimination legislation to combat racial discrimination.
Climate change is a new social concern that has recently been added to the list.
Climate change is a social issue since it has a wide range of consequences for
society. Several great individuals have stated that handling climate change as a
social issue would require greater public engagement in order for people to be
aware of the consequences. Typhoons have already begun to strike various
locations of the South Pacific as a result of climate change.
Climate change is
causing problems in many other places of the planet. This problem is causing the
earth's biodiversity to dwindle. Conventions, talks, and treaties are being held
to prevent this societal issue from growing. The use of law in the form of
treaties, acts, and conventions demonstrates that law may be used to effect
The exploitation of women and children
Exploitation of women and children has long been a global societal concern. This
is an example of a social issue that follows the cycle idea. Women have always
been oppressed as a result of men's domination over them. As a result, crimes
against women have increased in comparison to crimes against males.
child maltreatment, child marriage, and child trafficking are all typical
examples of child exploitation. Several laws have been passed to control these
variables in order to bring about social change and to protect children's rights
in order to provide them with an environment in which they may develop into
responsible members of the country.
The aforementioned social challenges are
classified as some of the most serious social difficulties that the world is now
experiencing, and only legislation can bring about change in society.
Law as an instrument of social change in India
India, being a diversified nation, has a diverse population, and the impact of
society on individuals in India is disproportionately greater than in other
countries due to the abundance of traditions, customs, and cultures in Indian
society, all of which have a significant impact on the public. Both in the past
and now, the law has been a powerful tool for the nation in bringing about
Several judgements dealing to social concerns have also been
issued by Indian courts, making individuals aware of the laws that are in place
so that they do not get affected by social difficulties. Below are some of the
societal changes that have been wrought as a result of the use of law as a tool.
Fundamental Rights in the Indian Constitution
Fundamental rights have been a reflection of legislation as a tool for social
change that has strayed. Fundamental rights include the right to live freely
(Article 21), the right to free and compulsory education (Article 14), the right
to equality (Article 14), the right to freedom (Article 19), and a number of
other rights that are necessary to make a difference in today's society.
basic rights are enforceable in a court of law, which means that anyone can go
to court if their fundamental rights are being violated. Right to both free and
compulsory education In the year 2002, education was included to the right to
life under Article 21A. The society thought it was necessary to educate its
children in order to make them more aware of the societal changes that were
occurring around them. It was carried out in such a way that schooling became a
legal requirement for all children under the age of 14.
Public Interest Litigation
The Supreme Court provided individuals with one such vehicle, public interest
litigation, in order to foster a different approach to law on the side of the
people. A person representing a group of individuals can use public interest
litigation to approach the court on the grounds that they are impacted by
something that has to be stopped in order to avert additional suffering.
Supreme Court has been able to narrow the scope of the locus standi by making
public interest litigation available to individuals, allowing any
public-spirited person to approach the court without reservation. This was a
significant social reform brought about by the Indian court, demonstrating that
law may be utilized to effect social change as and when necessary by society.
a handful of occasions, public interest litigation has had a significant
influence on society. The MC. Mehta v. Union of India
case stands out among them
all. In this public interest case, the Supreme Court was encouraged to give
people with a free and healthy environment in terms of water, air, and the
environment, and it was determined that these demands were inside the scope of
Article 21 of the Constitution.
As the home of many religions, India has experienced a multitude of traditions
and practices that have been legislation for many years, even if the customs or
traditions were not honest and fair. Child marriage was one of these inequitable
rituals that existed until the Child Marriage Restraint Act of 1929. This Act
was revised again in 2006, becoming the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006.
Child marriage is a form of one-sided exploitation of girls.
In an age when
youngsters should be pursuing education, they are married to absolve parents and
society of responsibility. The consequences for the youngster are
serious. Because society was in need of the same, legal force was required to
eradicate this social issue from society. As a result, legislation was enacted
for society to obey in order to bring about social transformation.
Rape occurs as a result of the nation's worldview, not merely because of
societal issues. Rape might simply be described as sexual exploitation of a
person by another person for the gratification of the latter, rather than
classifying it according to who does it and who suffers it in order to maintain
a mainstream conversation. Only by the application of law can individuals in
society alter their minds and cease committing such horrific crimes.
of rape incidents among women in India has increased dramatically, implying
that, before educating our society's daughters, we must educate our entire
body. A strong deterrent for criminals, which may also work as dread for them
and make them think twice before committing such a crime, can be used to bring
about a societal change through changing people's thinking.
The Supreme Court of India struck down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code,
1860, which used to criminalize unnatural offenses, i.e., if intercourse occurs
between two men or two women, it will be declared an offence under this
provision, on the grounds that homosexuality is no longer an offence in the eyes
of the law. In the historic case of Navtej Singh Johar v. Union of India, the
Supreme Court decriminalize all forms of consensual intercourse among adults,
including gay sex.
The Supreme Court's ruling ushered in a sea shift in Indian
culture, customs, and beliefs. The majority of people, particularly the queer
community, were pleased with the decision. In a sense, the Supreme Court
re-established Article 21 by stating that everyone has a right to life and
personal liberty that should not be limited by cultural standards.
Loopholes in the law to make a social change
We have already discussed how the law may be utilized to effect social change as
well as how the law has been effective in making an influence in society. It is
now vital to identify the flaws in law as a tool for bringing about social
change so that these flaws may be addressed and law can function as an effective
tool for bringing about social change. We've explored a number of societal
concerns that have been regulated by the law but have yet to be
Because social concerns take time to resolve, the law should be strong
enough to help speed up the process. Rape laws have been enacted, but the number
of rapes has not decreased. Every other day, there will be a rape incidence
reported in the newspaper. This clearly states that existing laws are
insufficient to bring about social change. Until today, the globe has been
subjected to racial and caste oppression.
Protests, mass rallies, and everything
else are failing because the laws in place do not have a strong enough root to
have a societal influence. Although homosexuality has entered the mainstream,
few people embrace it since it contradicts societal standards. As a result,
tougher law enforcement is required to address these societal challenges so that
people begin to take the rules seriously and carefully.
Coming to the end of the debate on how law may be used as a tool for social
change, it can be argued that law is already a tool for bringing about social
change, and it has brought about many social changes, but it still has a long
way to go in bringing about societal transformation.
- https://www.mbauniverse.com/group-discussion/topic/social-issues-group- discussion-topics/law-should
- https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2016/06/27/3-discrimination-and-racial- inequality/