Why Law?

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This article has been submitted by Mohammed Imran Khan for the CLATGyan Blog Post Writing Competition. If you think it’s a good read, ‘Like’ the article (the button is at the bottom of this piece) or post a comment using the ‘Comments’ section below.

The answer to such a simple query as the title could be a myriad of reasons for the discerning soul but for the rudderless one or rather a goalless soul, the answer could very well be a question: “Why not law?” Amidst the answering of a question with a question, the most important reasons for taking up the study of law are something that the greatest of the greats have done through the ages and that is, simply put, standing up for one’s rights and enforcing of duties.

The concept of law, as is understood in its present form and the pursuit of which the present generation is engaged in, traces its most basic and principal form to the very first question that God is supposed to have put to Satan on his refusal to bow before Adam; the question being a simple “Why?” Here’s God, the Omniscient One, enquiring from a disobeying Satan, not because God doesn’t know the answer but because God wants Satan to know that he will be heard before being judged, thereby complying with, perhaps, the first basic principle of law that reads “None should be condemned without being heard” or in Latin, “Audi alteram partem”.

All of civilized society owes its existence to a single three-letter word – LAW. Remove anything or everything else from this society like medical and educational facilities, construction activities etc., and there would certainly be difficulties and life would be fraught with danger. But a total collapse and annihilation of the society would result only if law and its enforcement were to be totally wiped out from the society. We would go back to being a society without the protection of law, where might would be right and in fact, become the very embodiment of how Aristotle had summed it up “At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice, he is the worst.”

The study of law or at least, the study of its most basic principles should be made a compulsory part and parcel of school education to make a child more responsible. Law is not only about knowing one’s rights but also realizing one’s duties. It is certainly important to know how plants make their food and what is the capital of Somalia (it’s Mogadishu) and how a seed germinates, but what is more important is to inculcate a sense of what one enjoys as rights in the true measure of freedom along with the duties that one has towards one’s country and fellow citizens.

The greats, starting with Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation and moving on to Nelson Mandela and various freedom fighters around the world, all with the background of education in law, did one of the simplest and perhaps, the most difficult of all things – they stood up for their rights. Coming to the people with phenomenal talent in the field of sports, acting, music or other fields of entertainment – they went on to change the face of the world by doing their duties and standing up for their rights and for this to happen, they first had to know what their rights and duties were. The study of law teaches oneself the concept of rights and duties and their enforcement and compliance in their primordial form. In the famous movie “The Devil’s Advocate”, the Devil comes down to the earth in human form as a lawyer and upon his young protégé questioning him as to why he (the Devil) chose to come in the avatar of a lawyer, the Devil gives a detailed explanation, that could be summed up as, “From the day you are born to the day you die and even thereafter, if there is one service that you require, it is the services of a lawyer.” Be it in your prosperity, grief, misery or any situation that life may throw at you, law and its practitioners will remain an integral part of your lives.

To conclude and answer “Why Law?” I will simply say, “Because law is not only a way of life but is life itself!” 

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