What is law? It remains as puzzling as it was, even after it was so wonderfully delineated by H.L.A Hart in 1960s. Over the centuries societies are tending to be more and more legalistic than ever in the past. The ‘free man’ is an endangered species. The leviathan of Hobbes had really become so suffocating that the choice of man is almost reduced to nullity. The law which had its origins in the need of a meek individual’s assertion of his place in the society has now slowly become a Frankenstein’s monster, threatening its own creator. The Western societies have struck some resemblance of balance somehow giving some hope for some free space to individual. But in the other societies, where the ideas of legality and justice have not yet gone deeper, the law still remains in the rudimentary form which had not yet gone beyond idea of ‘the sovereign command’. The will of the people is rarely reflected in the law, though some of them have some forms of democratic governments. Nothing can be said of those increasingly theocratic societies where law and the religion remain undistinguishable.
The ideas of social and cultural relativity, which have emerged as powerful challengers of ‘universality’ of any subject prevent any intervention from the external force, even while the ‘sovereign power’ in each society is empowered to violate even basic rights of its citizens. The project of universality had come to a dead end. Even the government sponsored genocides are either ignored or neglected for the sake of non-interference. What happened to the ‘rights of man’ as a universal goal? The very idea of modernity appears to have come to be an irrelevant thing. Does law has a universal nature and appeal? Can legal theory regain its centrality in the study of human societies? What stares at its future? How to balance the law, and the free choice of an individual?
Dr. A. Raghu Kumar, Advocate
Flat No. 401, Shashank Residency,