Legal systems across the globe have been established for different purposes that influence leadership processesas well as regulate the livelihoods of thosewho are governed by such systems. Conventional law is a species of special law and has its source in the agreement of those who are subject to it. These laws were commonly established to address the desires of a few leaders and manipulate the loyalty of the majority of subjects within a society. For instance, the first Income Tax Act was introduced in February1860 by James Wilson – British-India’s first Finance Minister –which aimed to improve tax collection processes, control revolutions and enhancepublic participation of the majority in the development of the nation. 

If law is a system of enforceable rules governing social relations and legislated by a political system, it might seem obvious that law is connected to ideology. Ideology refers, in a general sense, to a system of political ideas.Law and politics therefore seem inextricably intertwined. Just as ideologies are dotted across the political spectrum, so too are legal systems.The emergence of legal ideologies advocating for social justice and community affairs, gained popularity during the 19th century,though the south Asian nations have since had a slow development of the laws addressing social issues in society. For instance, India being one of the biggest South Asian nations, has experienced poor development of social laws as well as their implementation in the various aspects of life. India is a highly populated nation and the inefficiency of the social legal structure has led to poor adherence to the key aspects of political, economic and social development. The ability to coordinate a large population towards a common goal requires leadership to establish reliable social structures. Social code and justice are further facilitated and protected through the implementation of credible legal systems. This paper will critically analyse the impacts of legal structures on both social and economic development in India, as well as evaluate the current issues associated with the relevant aspects.

Indian Society and Social Traits

India is demographically composed of 26 states made up of diverse languages, cultures and dialects. Further, the cultural diversity in India influences the social codes embraced and practiced by the entire population. Moreover, the legislation of the key social developments is influencedby the various cultures practiced in the nation, hence the dominant cultures receive high recognition and acknowledgement in the legal developments.The development of the legal statutes aimed at improving social-cultural practices in the nation, is aligned towards the dominant cultures in the nation, thus the minority groups are commonly neglected.Disparity amongst the community influencesthe equal distribution ofjustice in the society, which further impacts the acceptance of the social justice systems advocated by the nation’s leadership. Generally, the dominant religion in India is Hinduism, consisting of 80% of the nation’s population.Conversely, Christianity, Islam and Sikhism are practiced by the minority in the country. Hinduism regularly influences the legal systems developed in the entire nation, affecting the impact and existence of the minority religions on legislation.

Further, the subdivisions within Hinduism affects legislation implemented in the nation due to certain castes in the religion being representedin the popular leadership personalities. Popularity of Hinduism in India commonly affects the cultural picture of the country and there have been social injustices towards the minority religions since the dominating religion accuses the minority and treats them with contempt.The necessary national cohesion for the cultural exchange amongst the various groups in India, has been inhibited by the longheld perspectives that facilitate hatred and contempt between the different social groups. Moreover, the development of the moral codes that establish effective social practices in the Indian society, derails the anticipated cohesion and socio-economic developments.   

Impacts of Law on Social Structures in India

Social affairs such as the organisation of the general public in a society, are regulated by the legal administration that stipulates the processes that should be observed by the public whilst socializing with each other. Furthermore, the current generation of legal justice has enhanced the freedom of each individual to actively participate in social activities of their choice, provided they do not infringe the set policies in the community. 

Nevertheless, global legal developments assert the need to observe economic developments rather than observing the entire spectrum of human livelihoods. For example, the United Nations Declaration (the UN) on the Right to Developmentunequivocally establishes development as a human right and puts people at the centre of the development process. Although the UN doctrine acknowledges the right of an individual to participate in economic, social and political activities, the key measure of the developments achieved is focused on the economic realisation made over a certain duration.Contrary to that, Article 25 of the Constitution of Indiastipulates that members of the public have the right to participate in religious activities of their choicebut minority religious beliefshave experienced regular oppression from theHinduism population. For example, in 2017 the politicians from Shiv Senaand BharatiyaJanta Partywere taskedwith handling the mob lynching situations,wherebyMuslims were subject tobeing lynched by Hindu cow worshipers.The consciousness of the freedom to exercise social activities and obligations in Indian society is yet to develop effectivelyand enhance cohesion between the different parties that coexist.

The lack of general measure of social developments around the globe has greatly affected the social and cultural cohesion across India. Generally, the diversity of the social practices adopted by the various groups in India develops contemptuous attitudes between the several communities. Poor preservation of the ancient practices in some communities within the country has affected the growth of the current practices as well as the observation of moral codes held by the traditional leaders. By the same token, intrusion of the colonial systems of leadership distorted the originally practiced leadership styles, as well as the cultural traits adored by the traditional Indian society. Globalisation, urbanisation, and cultural interactions among Indian citizens have greatly hindered linear and traceable social developments.Nevertheless, after the Indian Independence Movement, the Indian leadership attempted to introduce legislation with the purpose of facilitating growth of cultural practices across the nation, but there has been little achievement of the anticipated objectives. Further, Indian community consists of diverse cultural groups, differentiated by the languages, religions and cultural practices, thus the significance of each group in creating the national cultural code is rarely addressed. Moreover,there is no specified cultural practices advocated by the entire community of India, therefore a clear picture of the social traits in the country is not available. Influence from the global community has affected the structuring of key cultural aspects since the majority cultural practices are recognized and embraced by the global society. 

Economic Aspects in India

India is an emerging economy which is anticipating potential developmentand growth in the near future. According torecent studies, the GDP growth in the nation is expected to rise since various economic sectors are experiencing increasing capital investments. Even thoughIndia has a large population, the GDP per capita and standard of living of the majority population on a whole is low. Unequal distribution of essential resources such as: occupational opportunities; public services;social amenities and infrastructure inhibits improvement of the entire population’s standard of living. Further, a large population in India has invested in the agricultural sector which is wortha small percentage of 17% of the national GDP, therefore depicting a low GDP in relation to the sizeable population. India has relied on the cottage industries for its economic development to date,however the stagnant growth of some of the firms – in this industry – has failed to create employment opportunities for the growing population. The impacts of legal frameworks such as: minimum wage; corporate taxes; income levies; and global trade barriersinfluences the economic environment in the nation. Further, the significance of legalsocial structures such as labour laws and rights affect the achievement of the anticipated economic growth. 

Legal, Social and Economic Issues Affecting India

The amendment of the critical legislation affecting the socio-economic environment in India has taken a gradual process where some aspects have not been clearly stipulated. Moreover, the social disparity of the Indian public which exists between theBrahmins, the Kshatriyas,the Vaishyas, andtheShudrasbreeds social injustice upon some of the societal groups in India, which is permitted by the Hinduism society. Furthermore, some members of the society are immune to judicial actions, thus promoting discrimination and social mistreatment. Some of the legal social statutes defined by Section 3 of The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989 defiles the individual rights of members of the public. Such discriminative legislation restricts the exercise of one’s freedom, hence hindering social cohesion and effective economic development. Nevertheless, the Constitution of India establishes the laws which prohibit discriminationon all levels of social matters as well as public opportunities. TheConstitution defines the rights of the public and enhances the implementation of the legislation via the well-established judicial systems. Since the legislation have been established, there are various Articles that are yet to be reviewed to reflect the composition of the nation. Furthermore, the reluctance to observe the set regulations inhibits effective rule of justice in India. 

Labour affairs are currently one of the most focused upon aspects of the Indian social and legal structure. Regular mistreatment actions, slavery, and forced labour reported across various sectors in the country indicates reluctance amongst the public to observe social justice. The interference of the public’s social rights reflects on the possible economic achievement.This being because social practices affect the ability of the public to participate actively in essential economic activities. Further, the lack of public awareness on how to combat eminent social injustices across different sectors affects the implementation of the judicial procedures aimed at curbing social injustices. 

Poor involvement of the public in the process of developing critical legislation affects the credibility of the laws implemented in society. Effective development of reliable social structures will require the participation of the entire Indian society, thus involvement of every member of the society will be an essential aspect. Establishment of strong and independent judicial services can further alleviate the social injustices present in India.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it has been argued that the lack of robust legal frameworks within India has caused the growth of India’s economy to be adversely affected. It can be opined that with the implementation of legislation which equally provides for the nation it seeks to serve, the development of the Indian society will be seen. India has unique socio-economic problems like class and caste divide, which increases the disparity. With such legal foundations, the inequalities and disparities which are very much present within India should soon disappear. With the absence of inequality and discrimination, an environment conducive to economic and social growth will be birthed.

About the author

Varun Srivastava is a first-year law student pursuing five-year B.A. LL.B(Hons.) Degree Programme at Presidency University, Bangalore. His area of interest is Constitutional Law, in which he has published an article as well. He has an inclination towards Legal Research in the aforementioned field and aims to professionally engage in it after graduation. He is also passionate about the welfare of animals. Apart from law, he loves to play outdoor games like cricket and badminton.

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