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  • 03 Aug 2022 GS Paper 4 Theoretical Questions

    Day 24: In law a man is guilty when he violates the rights of others. In ethics he is guilty if he only thinks of doing so. (150 words)

    • Give a brief Introduction to Law and Ethics.
    • Describe the operation of the law and ethics.
    • Give a fair conclusion.


    Law, which is binding on people and must be abided by, is made up of rules and regulations as a whole. Ethics in general can be described as those beliefs or standards that incline one to act or choose in one way rather than another. On a societal level, ethics is concerned with an individual's subjective moral conscience.

    The term "criminal justice system" refers to the governmental entities in charge of enforcing the law, trying criminals, and punishing those who break it. A law's primary goal is to stop crimes from happening. Its goals are to hold violators and criminals accountable and, to the extent practical, to make amends for the victims. The goal of law is to stop criminals from committing similar crimes in the future. Contrarily, ethics helps people distinguish between right and wrong, guiding each person's conscience. On the basis of its ethical value, human character is assessed. Ethics considers both an individual's action and its cognitive representations, whereas law only takes into account that action. Because of this, ethics deems anything to be bad as soon as it arises in a person's thinking, as opposed to law, which makes a declaration based on an individual's action. Actions result from thoughts. An evaluation of an action's legality is done in law. Ethics serves a similar function in cognition.

    • For instance, because the other person's right to life is not violated, someone who considers killing another person is not thought to have broken the law. However, merely by harboring violent desires, he is ethically guilty.
    • Similarly, men who contemplate harming a woman's dignity are wrong in their actions from an ethical standpoint, even if they are not legally guilty until they commit the deed.

    However, Kant's observation may not always be correct, because ethics reflect society's worldview, which evolves through time. For example, Adultery was a criminal offence in India until both legally and ethically. It is now decriminalized by law (Supreme Court decision), yet a huge segment of Indian society still considers it immoral.

    Laws and ethics work best when they are together. The majority of laws are developed from ethics, and both work in harmony to build a stable, peaceful community. Both want to provide an environment that is fair, just, and governed by rules so that people can have happy, fulfilling lives.

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