Legal Maxim

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Literal meaning

Let justice be done, though the world shall perish

Origin

Latin

Explanation

It is very aptly said, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

This sentence was the motto of Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor. The maxim aptly summarises the essence of social justice, meaning, justice must be delivered at all costs. Justice is given great significance in society. It is placed at a higher pedestal than all other goods in the societal sphere. Justice, the word that itself explains the need and importance of law and order in a society, is one of the characteristic fundamental values of our preamble in the Indian Constitution. The phrase highlights that justice shall not be sacrificed at any cost, even if it costs the end of the world. It is iterated that if justice is not served, it eventually leads to doom like situation. It is therefore pertinent to note that, no matter what happens, justice shall not be denied.

An alternative phrase is Fiat iustitia, ruat caelum which means “Let justice be done, though the heavens may fall.”

Herein, it is important to note that, justice shall not just be done, but shall also seem to be done, i.e. justice shall be delivered well within the stipulated time. The time constraints shall be kept in mind while dealing with the crucial act of serving justice.

It is very aptly said that Justice delayed is justice denied. And hence, it is important that justice shall be served, even if the sky is falling or the Earth splits into two. If there is a failure to deliver justice it is impending doom. Injustice is next to evilness and justice is equivalent to godliness. There is no exaggeration in saying that, justice is the very essence of the legal system in a society. The free legal aid and awareness to victims and poor sections of the society is another way of ensuring justice to all.

There may be several obstacles inefficient delivery of justice, like political influence, bias, bureaucracy, threat, or lacunae in the legal system. These lacunae are bound to creep in as a result of several factors in the society, the involvement of a political party in an offense, or a decision that might result in public outrage, etc. are some amongst the many.

However, it is time and again, observed that justice shall be upheld, and all other things are secondary. For, the smooth achievement of this, the judiciary is adorned with special powers like that of review, PIL, and discretionary powers, that make it powerful and independent to the interpretation of laws in the best possible manner. Injustice in any manner is a threat to the society and is violative of basic human rights. The principle not just entitles humans the right to justice but also encompasses the non-human rights protection, like that of animals and other organisms.

Illustration

For instance, A, who is son of a political leader, commits the offense of hit and run. His trial shall be done in a manner like all other people, in order to make sure that the ends of justice are not defeated in the hands of lacunae in the legal system. The political party may try to make an undue influence on the judicial authorities to favor his son, but here is the point when the judiciary plays a crucial role and uplifts the spirit of laws and helps the public establish faith in the justice system.

Another example is, a case where the judiciary is fearful, that its judgment may lead to widespread devastation and the loss to public property and lives of people, still it shall adjudicate the matter with all honesty and uphold the stature of justice, at all costs. Justice shall not be driven by societal influence but shall be based on principles of law and facts of the case.

Case laws

The landmark case of Nirbhaya, the embodiment of the fearless daughter of India is a great example to understand the maxim in its true sense. The case was twisted and took several unfavorable turns before ultimately delivering justice to the victim and her family. This case is a perfect instance to analyze the importance of justice and the crucial role of the judiciary in ensuring the same. The judgment in this case was challenged several times before the final verdict, and there were several other obstacles that hindered the delivery of justice; the judiciary very smoothly and effectively, iterated that, Justice is one of the basic human rights and shall not be denied at any cost.


This Maxim has been written and submitted by Ms. Mansi Batra during her course of internship at B&B Associates LLP. Ms. Mansi is a third-year law student at the Fairfield Institute of Management and Technology, Kapashera, New Delhi.