It is at best nonsensical if justice would have a price, for justice essentially means the complete absence of anything unjust or anything inequitable. Furthermore, if justice should have a price, it will obliterate the fundamental essence of Human Rights by which the society takes its shape and form, and without which the very nature of society, of social order and human existence altogether, will only be chaotic and devastated.

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That, we believe, is why justice is put on a pedestal by every social entity all around the world. However, what is in practice, especially about the government and the people, seems often otherwise, in a manner that the idea of justice is often obliterated and the common people are demanded to pay a price for which is naturally theirs –the price of Justice.

I was enkindled to come to think of the price of justice with the thought of what people have to through just to have justice rightly served. To think of, it is already a high price to pay to go through all the procedures to have a judge, judge your case. What is worse is to not be heard and neither listened to even though the world stands witness to your case. Whose fault then it is that you are right, but you cannot be right? Who should be accountable and answerable when justice is denied? Who will plead the case for the poor and the unheard when justice has a price that high?

One may often be compelled to ponder then – why is the price of justice so high? Why is it buyable, making it only for the rich? This has to be put to stop, and the voice of the people must be given its due stature. On the part of the people, it would be best to reason with the administration than resort to protests and violence, and the disruption of daily activities. On the other hand, the government too, must always remember that ours is not an autocratic state, and neither is it entitled to act at will without the due and prior consent of the people. 

For the government, the people are the essence of its existence, and if that is in any case denied and the people become victims of the government rather than being masters of the government, then there is no democratic government but a few autocrats who must be brought down. For the people too, it is fundamental that they come to realise their roles and power in a democracy. Notable is the fact that democracy is beautiful because it gives everyone a place in the system. It is, therefore, implicit that it is not just a mere matter of choice, but obligatory for the government to listen to the people and to listen to justice and see that it is rightly served.

Justice should be free, and no price should be demanded to be paid for it. Bandhs and blockades and rallies and violence should not be the answer and never be made to be. And in any case, if justice is not served and the people are victimised, then it is the administration that should take the blame.

With it, every right-thinking citizen must take the responsibility to fight against injustice beyond the caste and creed, for freedom and justice are our birthrights.

Janghaolun Haokip is a youth activist based in Manipur.

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