supreme court
Dulam Chandrasekhar
Dharmic Justice: A critique
This article originally appeared in CRI content has now been subsumed in The views expressed here are personal and do not necessarily reflect those of the editors of

Two points have to be made about Satyananda’s article Dharmic Justice before looking at specifics.

First, dharmic justice itself is tautological. While dharma means lot of things to lot of people, dharma itself means justice. It could also mean morality, religion, or code, among other things. Applied to a nation state, dharma would inevitably mean justice. I presume Satyananda wants to look at impact of ancient to pre-modern dharmic traditions, meaning judiciary philosophy, on existing legal and judiciary philosophy. It’s an excellent topic to pursue.

Second, I think it would be worthwhile that we, those on the right, look at merits of an issue for its own sake rather trying to critique it to it as an opposition to western ideas, which presumably means American and, to a lesser extent, British ideas. This is what the Left in India (and also in the west) does and it dissolves to muddleness. That an idea originated in the west or India should be irrelevant if it adds intellectual heft to the issue at hand – in this case, judicial philosophy.

Now, without looking at each and every point that Satyananda makes, few large ideas presented can be critiqued:

Role of Danda and Svadharma

While Bharatiya society is no longer neatly divided into four jatis, the ideas that Satyananda presents seem perfectly compatible with existing judicial law. Unless Satyananda is making case for codifying religious justice, svadharma (it could also mean moral code), into law, I don’t see the incompatibility.

If the case is for codifying religious svadharma, with very few exceptions, the idea is fraught with danger of creating a tyrannical society. It should be said here that the west (in this case Europe) already went through codified svadharma phase, based on religious laws, and by and large settled for non-religious moral svadharma laws of ancient Greece and Rome over the past several centuries. It’s another matter that even those svadharma laws are being destroyed by hyper-liberalism of western left.

Islamic countries still follow codified religious svadharma of tribal Arabia with mostly disastrous consequences to ordinary people in those countries.

 There may be a case for codifying non-religious svadharmic laws of ancient Bharat compatible with unchanging human nature and current society. Satyananda gives no examples what those could be.

Differences presented between so-called west’s natural law, apparently codified, and dharma, apparently free floating, make little sense. One would think both are based on nature of men and societies and the differences are in the form rather than substance.

 Confusion on civil law

The contrast between western and Indian constitutional laws falls apart completely. Economic reservations for jati is not a western concept – affirmative action in the west was born in the 60s when the leftists took over liberalism. It is a flawed concept invented by Indian constitution scholars which itself is a contradiction of idea of equality of all men in the constitution, in late 40s. Once the contradictory door was opened, political system drove, and continues to drive, a bulldozer through it.

Here one has to separate the west, between US and Europe.

Although the US constitution is based on the British, it is unique in itself. There was no anti-God western secularism built into western constitutions – that is a secularism incarnation of the current left.

Most, if not all European countries have state religions – tax payers fund one specific religion denomination, even now. Only US constitution dealt away with the silliness, several centuries ago, by keeping state independent of religion. That does not mean US constitution is anti-God – it simply doesn’t care what its citizen’s God is. Suffice to say, religion is dying where it is funded by the state in Europe but thrives in US, where state keeps its hands off religion.

But neither Europe nor US, the west, discriminate based on religion – they follow Sarva Dharma Sambahava just like current Indian constitution does, which the Indian liberals are working trying to destroy using ever brazen religion based reservation policies.

Finally, we come to the bizarreness of Satyananda’s contrasting Right to Liberty and Right to Equality with Right to Life, which apparently is ancient dharmic tradition.

More or less equating Right to Liberty and Right to Equality to mere animal existence is silly, to put it very mildly.

Whether or not Right to Life is dharmic tradition, a questionable assertion, how exactly does a state provide Right to “Life” to its citizens? It seems, probably, to be an extension of all the un-serious and silly “rights” current leftist UPA is churning out into law. The rest on sexual harassment and environmentalism is classic leftism pretending to be dharmic tradition. I’ll leave it at that.

The Right has to present its ideas with the verve and command of language that left pretends it has. But Right’s ideas on dharma, on governance, on social fabric, on moral virtues are superior and has to be presented as such – well thought, consistent, and logical arguments.

Contrasting with west, where it matters, is fine, but the real fight is with leftists and liberals at home. It’s about cleaning up the existing constitutional and social mess, not defending it or playing by the rules set by leftists.