When someone tells you: “it is wrong to steal” or “it is not right to lie or deceive”, there are two aspects to it. One is the moral aspect – the one which says that it is not polite to steal or wrong someone, the morality of good and bad and the second aspect is the extension of that moral code into codified rules for society, which lays down the guidelines within which human beings are expected to interact with each other.
Law is the study of the second aspect. At a very fundamental level, law is the translation of the collective sense of right and wrong which each member of society agrees to observe.
I used to think of these concepts from a fairly young age. My mother admonished me for taking that extra chapatti from my bench mate’s lunch box when she wasn’t looking, I asked her “why are you admonishing me?”
“Because it is wrong.”
The responses used to vacillate between “because God will punish you for being a rotten human being” and “the police will come and take you because you have been a bad person.”
The more I thought about these, the more I realized that our actions in society are based on the fundamental pillars of “the wrath of God” and “the wrath of the establishment”. To understand the “wrath of God”, one ought to study theology and become a priest. To understand the “wrath of the establishment”, one ought to study law and become a lawyer. I chose the latter.
Open the newspaper and read the first 10 news items which you come across. In all probability, you will come across someone hurting someone (i.e., criminal law), a Member of Parliament defecting to another political party (governed by electoral law), 4G spectrum sales (contract and telecom laws), Birla Corporation buying Reliance Infrastructure’s cement business (corporate and competition laws), India wanting to review the Indus Water Treaty (public international law), Angelina Jolie divorcing Brad Pitt (family law), the fight for equal status for women in society (fundamental rights under the Constitution) and, well, the list is unending.
In fact, other than the proverbial page 3 and the spiritual columns, most of the other news of our society is connected with law, one way or the other.
Such is the power and sway which law has on our society. It is the fabric on which the contours of our society are weaved. Understanding and knowing law is an essential feature for comprehending the manner in which our society functions. Vice versa, comprehending the manner in which society functions and ought to is critical in our individual and collective role in the evolution of law and, consequently, society.
In my opinion, law is a powerful tool which can be utilized for the betterment of society, to fight for fairness and justice, to right the wrongs, to ensure the fairness and relevance of the restrictions and freedoms in society and to appreciate the importance of following due process from incarcerating an accused in a criminal case to registering a property sale.
In India, you can do either a five year law course after twelfth or a three year course after graduation. Presently, I am studying law at Government Law College, Mumbai. It has the distinction of being the oldest Law College in Asiaand enjoys a pre-eminent reputation for excellence in the field of legal education.
Students can apply for various law schools through a common entrance i.e., CLAT, MH CET, AILET, SET etc. The entrance exams generally test knowledge of the students in the following subjects:
- Logical Reasoning
- Legal Aptitude
- General Knowledge
I chose to study law because society evolves with time and law is the language in which this advancement is crafted. I want to be a part of this change and contribute to the evolution of society.