The other day, I came across a young lad, known to be bright in school, who had secured admission to the prestigious Symbiosis School of Law in Pune. At the time of our meeting, the dude had already undergone three years of training in The Law. In order to test his fundas, I posed him a simple question:
What is the purpose of The Law?
His answer: The Law is an instrument of social control.
You cannot get it more wrong than that. Indeed, I do think that this fine young man is well on his way to joining our "illiterate bar."
The correct answer is: The Law Protects Us All.
People value law, and are scared of anarchy because they confuse Liberty with lawlessness, only because they feel that, without The Law, they would be at the mercy of every bully who came along. Unfortunately for them, The Law itself has been taken over by bullies. The Police are nothing but a bunch of bullies. As are the legislators, who use their powers for the purpose of "social control." And the professors of Law are all on the side of the bullies. They justify injustice. They teach their students to be slaves of The State. They know nothing of Liberty Under Law.
A Rule of Law Society is based on three pillars: Property, Contracts and Torts. Each of these pillars of The Law are meant for the protection and safety of the citizen. With his Property protected by Law, the citizen is secure, his possessions are securely his; and not only that, when he wills his property to his descendants, these descendants are secure and protected too. No bully can interfere and hijack property. As John Locke wrote in 1690: "Where there is no Property, there is no Justice."
Thus, Singur and Nandigram are examples of bullies – or should I say thieves – taking over The Law. Likewise with Indira Gandhi's "nationalization" of coal mines, banks, insurance and Air India. In all these cases, to use Bastiat's words, "the Law is guilty of the very crimes it is meant to punish."
The Constitution of India must therefore be seen as an instrument for the benefit of thieves, for it does not protect private property. This is one pillar of The Law we Indians do not have.
Similarly, contracts are a means of protecting the individual who signs an agreement with another. People make long-term plans with others on the basis of signed agreements (which are solemn promises – or "covenants" in the old language) and The Law exists to see that these promises are kept. Note that contracts are "private law" in the precise sense that two private parties signed the contract, and it is binding on them both. The Law exists to protect these private parties. For example, take a rent contract: the lessor must hand over possession to the lessee under Law; and the lessee must pay his rent on time. The Law of Contracts protects them both.
In India, rent control legislation, labour legislation, and currency legislation all make a mockery of solemn contracts. So this is another protection we do not possess under Law. The bullies have taken over the land.
The purpose of Tort Law – which is the oldest law – is entirely the protection of the individual and his properties. If anyone causes damage or injury to anyone else, he must pay damages. In India, this vital pillar of The Law simply does not exist. You may be hit on the road by a car driven by a reckless driver, and break a few bones, but under our The Law, you can claim no damages as compensation. You may go blind drinking illicit hooch – but there is no damage that the bootlegger will be forced to pay you. Your building may collapse in the rains, but the builder will not pay damages. In all these instances, the criminal law will take over, the police will be called in – and these bullies will extort money from the tortfeasor, as in the case of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy, or the Uphaar cinema fire.
We in India are NOT protected by The Law. In our land, none of the three pillars of Liberty Under Law exist. All Law is confused with Legislation – and all this legislation is aimed at "social control." This is why I say that bullies, tyrants and thieves have taken over The Law. This includes the professors, who are on the side of tyranny.
And what about this dude in Symbiosis?
Well, I saw a t-shirt the other day that said: "I was born intelligent, but education ruined me." I'll buy him one.