Thinking about fairness, justice or what's the right thing to do, we often fail to understand the subtle difference between the two kinds of justice that the word captures - Niti and Nyaya. While "Niti" refers to the behavioral correctness, "Nyaya" refers to the intrinsic nature and the impact on the actual lives of people. While it might be a fair niti to punish the person who stole medicines for his child, it's not nyaya. While we may "choose" to follow niti, nyaya is more of the outcome of what has been done or happened. While niti only relies on the rationality of argument, nyaya considers the human element. Having said all that, it's for us and only us to choose between the two. Niti can make us the right person, but it's nyaya that'll be make us the righteous one!
Courtesy: "The Idea of Justice" by Dr. Amartya Sen.