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THE DOCTRINE OF EQUALITY AND THE REALIZATION OF SOCIAL JUSTICE: THE ROLE OF THE JUDICIARY UNDER THE PRESENT CONSTITUTION OF SRI LANKA

Abstract

This study examined the application of the doctrine of equality as enshrined in the 1978 Constitution of Sri Lanka in the realization of Social Justice through the interpretations of the Constitution by the judiciary, in the spheres of taxation, education and employment. Human wants could only be increasingly satisfied not merely by expansion but by social control and the law is to be used as a prime instrument for achieving this end. The scale of corporate operations today makes the decisions of the company a matter of much public consequence as contrasted with the decisions of the small-scale business. The pressures are growing in society for a greater social accountability of powerful corporate conglomerates by means of law. Social justice is one of the disciplines of justice. The concept of social justice implements doctrine of equality and it gives practical contents to the latter. The Rule of law as enshrined in the Constitution requires the observance of minimum standards of openness, fairness and accountability in administration, a task assigned to Judiciary through judicial review. Consequently while civil and political rights as fundamental rights are enforceable, social and economic rights are made unenforceable under the 1978 Constitution. Consequently the study reveals that litigation involving aspects of social justice such as education, employment and taxation in order to take legal effect has to be based on quality provisions of the 1978 Constitution. The incorporation of social and economic rights as enforceable human rights into the Constitution, sound system of public law and vibrant judiciary are also essential for the realization of democratic rights and social justice in Sri Lanka.

Keywords: Equal Justice, Equality in Action, Judicial Activism, Rule of Law, Rule of Justice

 

For full Paper: fmscresearch@sjp.ac.lk


Author Biography

S.S.M. De Silva

Attorney-at-Law, Senior Lecturer, Department of Commerce, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, (Sri Lanka)