Origin of law, is traceable to the time when men started living as societies. Societies adopted religions and dogmas of faith controlled individuals. When individual freedom was limited for the sake of well being of societies, within the framework of religions, law and legal systems were formed. When societies became nations, laws and legal systems evolved. Nations adopted their own constitutions, proclaiming sovereignty. Many nations dispelled religious dogmas, but a few continued to be dominated by religions. Centuries witnessed conflicts between law and religion. Almost all civilised nations recognised their respective constitution as supreme than religions. Nations with multi-religious societies evolved a term “secularism” for maintaining mutual respect and co-operation between religions.
Where there is excessive domination of religions, unhappiness looms large over that nation. Religions teach humanity is greater than relgion. But, the so called religious leaders or clergies rule that religions are supreme than humanity. Here conflicts arise. Individuals and societies are held for ransom by clergies.
“No religion is higher than humanity.”
These are the words of Abdul Sattar Edhi, the Pakistani philanthropist who is a laureate of Gandhi Peace award. These words are golden, and countries which follow fanatic ideologies and dogmas should open up their eyes to understand the meaning of those words.
The United Nations ranked ten countries in world as the Happiest Countries of the World, recently. They are:
1. Finland, 2. Denmark, 3. Norway, 4. Iceland, 5.Netherlands, 6. Switzerland, 7. Sweden, 8. New Zealand, 9. Canada and 10. Australia.
How these countries attain this status?
The answer is simple. Humanity is treated as the religion that governs the societies and individuals in those countries. Freedom of thoughts and expression is available to citizens of these countries, without any restriction. Advantage of science and technology is being made use of by these countries to the fullest extent. Law need not enforce anything on the citizens. These countries succeeded in implementing law as “social engineering”.
Law in the present day world is conceptualised as “social engineering”. The concept is that Law and legal system should operate for the good of the society. Rights of the citizens are supreme. But when the larger interest of the society is concerned, citizens cannot claim supreme rights. The “happiest countries” set an example for having implemented the above proposition.
India is one of the largest democracies in the world with a well-written constitution. Many interpretations of the constitutional provisions were adverted to, by our Apex Court, especially on the basic structure of the Constitution. In whatever way the constitutional provisions are interpreted, the salutary objective of rule of law indicated in the preamble of the Constitution, namely justice, Liberty, equality and fraternity guide us as an unerring source of light.
It is all the more important that, we are not to be vigilant of our rights only. We owe a duty to the nation. We owe a duty to the society. But we often forget it. Political parties, religious organisations, individuals all forget it.
Though 71 years are over since we attained independence, we still lack in the spirit of citizenship. Sectarianism rules the day. It is high time for us to get enlightened as to our rights and liabilities as citizens. Let’s try for understanding our rights, duties, responsibilities and limitations, in a clear perspective without being influenced by any ideologies or sectarian dogmas.
Politicians, whatever be their ideologies are all demagogic. They want to categorise citizens based on religion, caste and creed. Even State also indulge in promoting sectarianism, by classifying the people based on religion. Data collection is done by the State based on religion. It is an eye opener to countries like India that in France the data is centrally gathered in a permanent population record and it is illegal to gather data on religion and ethnicity. This salutary feature is even taken note of, by UN report on Happiest Countries of the World.
Let us hope, our country will also find a place among the Happiest Countries of the World, without any delay.