Question 1: “In matters of conscience, the law of majority has no place.” Clarify the quote with examples. What is its relevance for the contemporary order?
- Answer : Conscience is the inner sense of what is right or wrong in one’s conduct or motives, impelling one towards the right action.
- Law of the majority is a law under popular pressure where populism and sentiments may be preferred over reasons, ethics and morality making conscience in conflict with law of majority.
- For example : Sati was once a popular activity which conscience would not allow, cruelty against animals in sports like Jallikattu is popular but against one’s conscience. Similarly restraining one’s food habit is against conscience but it is a law which bans beef as a food.
- On the other hand, there are instances where both conscience and popular law are on the same page like dowry prohibition, child labour prohibition, Protecting the environment etc. It is both conscientious and legal to save environment, children and people in distress.
- Therefore when right education, moral and ethical teachings along with strong democratic principles are provided, laws are based on collective conscience but if moral and ethical behavior is not backed with courage and political participation, conscience looses to the popular laws.
Relevance for contemporary order:
- to check the domination of the religious, linguistic and other minorities by the majority.
- To ensure the wellbeing of children, women and people in distress in the consumeristic world driven by capitalists-law makers nexus.
- Inequalities breed social tensions and make living less peaceful.
- To protect environment to ensure sustainable development.