Monday, December 21, 2009

Law as an instrument of social change

Law As an Instrument of Social Change with Special Regard to Status of Women in Post Independent India
=Dr. Preeti Misra, Sr. Lecturer, Dept. of Human Rights, School For Legal Studies, Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar Universitry, Lucknow
= Dr. Alok Chantia, Lecturer (Anthropology), Sri Jai Narain Post Graduate (KKC) College, Lucknow, U.P.

Key Words: Law, Society, Legal Norms, Social Norms, Social Change
Law is nothing but some rules which regulate one’s behavior. In this regard law is a prescriptive pattern of behaviour. There are two views about the functions of law. According to one view the essential function of law is to reinforce the existing mode and to provide a uniform procedure for the evaluation and punishment of deviance from the existing rules. In other words, the function of law is social control and to maintain social stability.
The other view is that law has a more dynamic role to play in the society. Law is not only a means of social control but also brings about social change by influencing behaviour, beliefs and values. As an instrument of social change, law involves two interrelated processes. By means of new enactments there will be institutionalization of new pattern of behaviour manifesting new social values. But it is not enough as it may become a letter of the law but not a social force. There must be a correlated cultural process, so that law may become an active social force. It is nothing but internalization of new pattern of behaviour in the individual. These two are closely related: if the institutionalization is successful, it facilitates the internalization of the new values by bringing about a change in the attitudes and beliefs of the individual through social upbringing in the individual families. If such internalization does not take place then the mere legal codification or the institutionalization will not have any social value, rather people may lose respect for law.
In the light of above an effort has been made in this paper to analyse the role of law with regard to position of women in post independent India. The methodology adopted is literature survey and data analysis. A number of published and unpublished sources have been consulted, besides secondary data provided by different agencies have been analysed and interpreted to draw a conclusion with regard to social position of women in India.
Present study revealed that with the help of various provisions of law enacted in independent India women have availed for themselves various opportunities in the socio-economic, educational and political life. Now they are enjoying their rightful place as citizen in the free democracy. However study also revealed that in urban as well as in rural India old social values are still continuing to inhibit their growth. Thus it can be concluded that desired social change in the position of women could not be achieved due to divergence between institutionalization and internalization of law.

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