NCERT Notes for Class 11 POLITICAL THEORY Chapter 4 SOCIAL JUSTICE, (Political Science) exam are Students are taught thru NCERT books in some of state board and CBSE Schools. As the chapter involves an end, there is an exercise provided to assist students prepare for evaluation. Students need to clear up those exercises very well because the questions with inside the very last asked from those.

Sometimes, students get stuck with inside the exercises and are not able to clear up all of the questions. To assist students, solve all of the questions and maintain their studies without a doubt, we have provided step by step NCERT Notes for the students for all classes. These answers will similarly help students in scoring better marks with the assist of properly illustrated Notes as a way to similarly assist the students and answering the questions right.




  • The term justice is derived from the Latin word “Junger” which means tie or bond.
  • The aim of justice is the welfare of the nation.


  • All cultures and traditions have interpreted the concept of justice in different ways.
  • For instance, in ancient Indian society, justice was associated with dharma and maintaining dharma, or just social order was considered to be a primary duty of kings.
  • In China, Confucius, the famous philosopher argued that kings should maintain justice by punishing wrongdoers and rewarding the virtuous.


  • Socrates clarified that we need to understand clearly what justice means in order to figure out why it is important to be just.
  • Socrates has the opinion that justice doesn’t mean doing good to our friends and harm to our enemies, as pursuing our own interests.
  • Justice involves the welfare of people.
  • Just as a doctor is concerned with the well-being of his/her patients, similarly the just ruler or the just government must be concerned with the well-being of the people and also give each person his due.
  • Socrates also reminds young people that if everyone were to be unjust if everyone manipulated rules to suit their own interests. nobody would be sure of benefiting from injustice. Nobody would be secure and this was likely to harm all of them. Hence, it is in our own long-term interest to obey the laws and be just.


  • In the fourth century B.C. In Athens (Greece), Plato discussed issues of justice in his book The Republic.
  • In Plato’s concept society is divided into three different categories like working class, intelligent and courageous groups.
  • These are controlled by different factors.
  • The intelligent group will become philosophers the courageous people will become soldiers and the working class will be farmers.
  • Here each individual does his work without interfering with other.
  • The famous book of Plato is “Republic”.


(Proportionate justice, Aristocratic justice, geometrical justice)

  • Aristotle argues that equal should be treated as equal and unequal should be treated as unequal.
  • And each person should give justice according to their condition of work.


  • According to the philosopher Immanuel Kant, human beings possess dignity. If all persons are granted dignity then what is due to each of them is that they have the opportunity to develop their talents and pursue their chosen goals.
  • Justice requires that we give due and equal consideration to all individuls.

Different types of Justice

Justice is classified into three.

  1. Social justice
  2. Political justice
  3. Economic justice

Social Justice

  • Social justice argues that there will be no discrimination between the member of society on the basis of caste, religion, race, and colour.

Economic Justice

  • Economic justice means those rights that are enjoyed by a person by consuming his livelihood.

E.g. Equal wages for equal work, right to work, and removal of unemployment and poverty.

Political Justice

  • Political justice is the justice given to an individual to live as a citizen.

E.g. Adult franchise, Right to criticize the government

Three Principles of Justice

  • Equal treatment for equal
  • Proportionate justice
  • Recognition of special needs

Equal Treatment for Equal

  • This concept is introduced by Jermy Bentham.
  • This principle of equal treatment for equal considered that all individuals share certain characteristics as human beings. Therefore they deserve equal rights and equal treatment.
  • Some of the important rights which are granted in most liberals democracies today include civil rights such as the rights of life, liberty, and property, political rights like the right to vote, which enables people to participate in political processes, and certain social rights which would include the right to enjoy equal opportunities with other members of society.
  • The resources of a country, rights, and freedom should be equally divided among its members and no one should not be discriminated against on the basis of caste, class, gender, and race.
  • This is also called democratic justice or numerical justice.

Proportionate Justice

This principle conveys that equally should be treated as equal and unequal should be treated unequal and each person should give justice according to their work.

  • Equal justice is not just the only principle of justice.
  • There could be circumstances in which we might feel that treating everybody would be unjust.
  • Everybody starts from the base line of equal rights, justice in such cases would mean rewarding people in proportion to the scale and quality of their efforts.
  • It would be fair and just to reward different kinds of work differently if we take into account factors such as the effort required, the skills required, the possible dangers involved in that work, and so on.
  • If we use these criteria we may find that certain kinds of workers in our society are not paid a wage that takes such factors sufficiently into account.
  • For justice in society, the principle of equal treatment needs to be balanced with the principle of proportionality.

Recognition of Special Needs

Our constitution allowed for the reservation of government jobs and admission to educational institutions for people belongings to SC/ST to maintain equal justice.

  • The third principle of justice we respond to is for society to take into account the special needs of people while distributing rewards or duties.
  • This would be considered a way of promoting social justice.
  • In terms of their basic status and rights as members of social justice may require that people be treated equally.
  • The principle of taking account of the special needs of people does not necessarily contradict the principle of equal treatment so much as extend it because the principle of treating equals equally could imply that people who are not equal in certain important respects could be treated differently.
  • People with special needs or disabilities could be considered unequal in some particular respect and deserving of special help.
  • But it is not always easy to get agreement regarding which inequalities of people should be recognized for providing them special help.
  • The constitution of India, therefore, allowed for reservations of government jobs and quotas for admissions to educational institutions for people belonging to the scheduled castes and tribes.
  • A different group in our country might favor different policies depending upon which principle of justice they emphasize.

Just Distribution

  • To achieve social justice in society, the government might have to do more than just ensure that laws and policies treat individuals in a fair manner.
  • Social justice also concerns the just distribution of goods and services, whether it is between nations or between different groups and individuals within a society.
  • If there are serious economic or social inequalities in a society, it might become necessary to try and redistribute some of the important resources of the society to provide something like a level playing field for citizens.

  • Therefore, within a country, social justice would require not only that people be treated equally in terms of the laws and policies of the society but also that they enjoy some basic equality of living conditions and opportunities.

  • This is seen as necessary for each person to be able to pursue his/her objectives and express himself. In our country, for instance, the Constitution abolished the practice of untouchability to promote social equality and ensure that people belonging to ‘lower castes have access to temples, jobs, and basic necessities like water.

  • Differences of opinion on matters such as whether, and how, to distribute resources and ensure equal access to education and jobs arouse fierce passions in society and even sometimes provoke violence.

  • A well-known political philosopher, John Rawls. Rawls has argued that there could indeed be a rational justification for acknowledging the need to provide help to the least privileged members of a society

John Rawls’s Theory of Justice

  • John Rawls is an American philosopher whose famous book is “The theory of Justice”.
  • John Rawls argues that the only way we can arrive at a fair and just rule is if we imagine ourselves to be in a situation in which we have to make decisions about how society should be organised although we do not know which position we would ourselves occupy in that society.

  • Rawls argues that if we do not know, in this sense, who we will be and what options would be available to us in the future society, we will be likely to support a decision about the rules and organisation of that future society which would be fair for all the members.

  • Rawls describes this as thinking under a ‘veil of ignorance’. He expects that in such a situation of complete ignorance about our possible position and status in society, each person would decide in the way they generally do, that is, in terms of their own interests.

  • But since no one knows who he would be, and what is going to benefit him, each will envisage the future society from the point of view of the worst-off.

  • It is of course not easy to erase our identities and to imagine ourselves under a veil of ignorance. But then it is equally difficult for most people to be self-sacrificing and share their good fortune with strangers.

  • The merit of the ‘veil of ignorance’ position is that it expects people to just be their usual rational selves: they are expected to think for themselves and choose what they regard to be in their interest.
  • Wearing the imagined veil of ignorance is the first step in arriving at a system of fair law policies. It will be evident that rational person will not see things from the perspective of the worst-off, they will also try to ensure that the policies they frame benefit society as a whole.
  • Rawls, therefore, argues that rational thinking, not morality, could lead us to be fair and judge impartially regarding how to distribute the benefits and burdens of society.
  • In his examples, there are no goals and norms of morality that are given to us in advance and we remain free to determine what is best for ourselves.

Advantages of this Concept

  • Thinking under the veil of ignorance will help[ in arriving at a system of fair laws and policies.
  • We can make sure that the laws and policies made by the government will be beneficial for all people.
  • The law made by the government will be equally beneficial for both the upper and lower class of society.

Pursuing Social Justice

  • If in society and persistent division exist between those who enjoy greater wealth and property, and the power which goes with such ownership, and those who are excluded and deprived, we would say that social justice is lacking.
  • Justice does not require absolute equality and sameness in the way in which people live.
  • A just society should provide people with the basic minimum conditions to enable them to live healthy and secure lives and develop their chosen goals n society.
  • Various methods of calculating the basic needs of people have been devised by different governments and by international organizations like the World Health Organisation.
  • In general, it is agreed that the basic amount of nourishment needed to remain healthy, housing, supply of clean drinking water, education, and a minimum wage would constitute an important part of this basic condition.
  • Providing people with their basic needs is considered to be one of the responsibilities of democratic government. However, providing such basic conditions of life to all citizens may pose a heavy burden on governments, particularly in countries like India which have a large number of poor people.
  • In our country, different approaches are being supported by different political groups who debate the relative merits of different schemes for helping marginalized sections of the population such as the rural or urban poor.

Free Market

  • In this system, individuals will be free to own property and enter into contracts and agreements with others regarding prices and wages into profit.
  • Supporters of the free market believe that if markets are left free of state interference the sum of market transactions would ensure an overall just distribution of benefits and duties in society.
  • Here, individuals are free to compact with others to gain profit.
  • Market profit motive and based on competition. The persons with merit and talent can exist in this competition and the others will be eliminated.
  • However, not all free market supporters today would support absolutely unregulated markets, for instance, the state could step in to ensure a basic minimum standard of living to all people so that they are able to compete on equal terms.
  • Private agencies should be encouraged to provide such services while state policies should try to empower people to buy those services.
  • The role of the state should only be to maintain a framework of laws and regulations to ensure that competition between individuals remains free of coercion and other obstacles.
  • One of the arguments that should be put forward in favor of market distribution is that it gives us more choices.
  • Another argument often heard in defense of free markets and private enterprises is that the quality of service they provide is often superior to that provided in government institutions.
  • Arguments can be put forward on both sides of the debate but free markets often exhibit a tendency to work in favor of the already privileged.
  • In a democratic society disagreements about issues of distribution and justice are inevitable and even healthy because they force us to examine different points of view and rationally defend our own views.
  • Politics is about the negotiation of such disagreements through debate.
  • In our country, many kinds of inequalities exist, and much remains to be done but by studying the different principles of justice should help us to discuss the issues involved and come to an agreement regarding the best way of pursuing justice.

Achievements of the Free Market

  • Equal consideration is given to an equal section of society.
  • People can have their choices.
  • The market gives better service.

The free market is a profit motive, so it has on a tendency to work for the growth of the private individual.

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