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2013-01-11
Formal and Informal Justice--realities, myths and expectaions

For past some decades,  ’inquiries under rubric of informal justice’ have taken significant amount of space and time.  People have been talking much on it, and professors and professionals of law are engaged in discourse, planning activities and educating people. Many things have been told about it. There are enthusiasm and scepticism both looming large. Some people present it as an alternative to formal system and others as complimenting. However, the philosophical digging of the idea seems less and the ‘risk or danger of informal justice system’ being used not for sake of justice of needy but for subjective satisfaction of academics and vested interest of those seeing popularize themselves  is evident. Let us look it from the perspective of ‘anthropology of law’—a system of justice is a means of satisfying ‘psychological satisfaction’ of individual. According to this theory, the tendency of using ‘right’  as claim in absolute term would be soften by ‘having no challenge in life to survive or someone is having not facing a crisis of resources’. If some member of family has adequate alternative or additional resource to live in, his/her attitude of using traditional resource is ‘passive’ and he/she becomes generous to let it be used by other members and ‘the satisfaction’  here is a definition of justice. Kant in his Metaphysics of Morals said, person should always be obliged to follow  sense of duty altruistically. So here, the person having resources has moral obligation to support other. The concept of informal justice originates here. It is not a matter of ‘contest’ with formal justice system. On the other hand ‘equality demands equal share of power’ or equity in ‘power sharing’. Does it therefore mean that ‘individual psychology of making consensus and using power’ are contradictory, or opposing ideas ? The pragmatists in the field have ‘made these two conceptions opposing’. Hence, there are justification given that ‘informal justice is founded on the failure of the formal justice system’. Yes, the system of justice in many countries not yielding indeed, but the underlying reasons are corruption, systemic deficiencies and actors moral deficiency. Radical pragmatism therefore may destroy the entire notion of justice. In my opinion, the formal and inform justice are ‘stages rather than’ kinds. The society has taken a lead to resolve disputes at origin, and transfer to formal system at complication.  The ‘rational’ for the need of theorizing the ‘notion of justice should not be absurdly challenged’. The projects of informal justice supported by many organizations in many poor societies should ‘take care of rationalizing the formal and informal justice, both as the needs of society’. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />