In ordinary parlance law means the rules which guide human action. In every community there is a body of customary ways for carrying social activities.
These are clear-cut and definite. Otherwise, a good deal of time would have been wasted to meet the friction.These are a kind of unwritten code enforced by religious authorities or by the pressure of public opinion. These social standards sometimes assume greater significance for the purpose of the general welfare that some penalty is necessary for those who violate these customary laws.
Then these customs cease to be purely social customs and assume political nature and become the laws of the land. These laws then virtually become the commands of the society. Their violations are met with penalty. In modern states law is an enactment made by the state. It is backed by coercion or force. Its violation is punishable by the courts. It stands for the will of the state. It exists to realise the purpose of the state.
It regulates the rights and duties of the citizens towards one another and also towards the state.It is the medium of the state to fulfill its promises to the people.
It represents the sociological needs of the society. It reflects the political, social and economic relationship in the state.
Relation between Law and Morality:
Here we shall discuss the similarity between law and morality and then point out the difference between law and morality.
Similarity between Law and Morality:
There is a close relation between law and morality. Law is by and large based on the moral ethos of society.They act and react upon each other.
The ideal of law is to project general welfare and to promote the moral perfection of the individual.The state must endeavour to make such laws that will heighten the moral standard of the people. So the laws of the state are rather the standard of morality of that time.
Thus Plato’s Republic which is a book on politics is at the same time a good treatise on morality. In ancient India Dharma would stand for both law and morality. Thus law is not only the command of the sovereign but a code of moral conduct also.Without the moral support of the people a law cannot be enforced.
So we find that law against the dowry has not been successful because a vast majority of the people in India does not morally support it.In this context Thomas Hill Green pointed out “In attempting to enforce an unpopular law, a government may be doing more harm than good by creating and spreading the habit of disobedience to law. The total cost of such an attempt may well be greater than the total gain.”
Difference between Law and Morality:
1. Law is concerned with the external human conduct and does not regulate with the inner motives. Law does not take notice of the inner motives of a man notice of the inner motives of a man notice of the inner motives of a man.
2. Law is uniform for all and it does not vary from man to man.
3. Law is precise and definite. Every state has a common forum of law.
4. There is a definite organ in every state for making law. The violator of law is punished by the state.
5. Law belongs to the subject of jurisprudence.
1. Morality is concerned with both the inner motives and external actions of a man. So the scope of morality is wider than that of law.
2. Every man has a different moral obligation. It varies from man to man, age to age and circumstances to circumstances.
3. Morality is vague and indefinite. There is no authority to enforce morality.
4. Morality is never made by any organ. There is no force to punish the breaker of morality. There is no element of compulsion in morality.
5. The branch of knowledge that deals with morality is called ethics.