In A Passage to India, E. M. Forster presents in fictional form the consequences of the racial and class imbalances of the colonial system. The gendered and sexual dimensions of the colonial hierarchy are another important theme. The relative meaning of “justice” is also a central theme: although Dr. Aziz occupies a distinguished professional position, “justice” means something entirely different for him because he is Indian rather than British.
Aziz is presented as being highly aware of the unequal treatment he receives in British colonial society. The situation in which he is alone with Adela Quested arises because of her misinformed curiosity about India as well as his desire to inform a British visitor about his country’s fine cultural achievements. Although she is technically Mrs. Moore’s employee, Adela's status as a white British woman is higher than his as a non-white Indian physician.
The irony of what constitutes justice is shown by the trial. Even though Adela recants, the fact that Forster shows it as a case that could go to trial is significant. The colonial and racial disparity made it likely that the colonial powers would believe her accusation of inappropriate sexual conduct. Despite the flimsiness of her explanation that she was confused by the echo in the caves, her conduct affects only her engagement. In this regard, the emotional reaction of a woman is regarded as sufficient for making a damaging accusation.