Tuesday, 15 February 2022

Rule of Law


Brief History- 

Sir Edward Coke, who was the Chief Justice in James I’s reign, propounded the concept of Rule of Law. He made sure that the King is not above all but should remain under God and the Law. As a result of it, he established the supremacy of the law. Later on, this concept or theory was developed by A.V Dicey and got published in his work named “The Law and the Constitution” which got published in the year of 1885.

Meaning of Rule of Law-

A.V Dicey laid down three meanings to rule of law which is as follows-

I) Supremacy of Law

2) Equality before Law

3) Judge-made Constitution

Supremacy of law means absolute supremacy of law, it opposes arbitrariness, anarchy. According to this concept, No man shall be punished imbodied or in goods except provided under the law or except for the breach of distinct law.

Equality before Law means that law is above everyone and no one is above the law. Irrespective of a man’s rank, wealth, condition, etc. Everyone is subject to the ordinary law of the land. The Rule of Law aims to oppose the exemption given to the officials or certain classes of society. 

Dicey preferred that the rights should be guaranteed according to the Judicial decisions and not by any written laws or Constitution. Dicey made the Courts the Guarantors of Right, but this concept is not followed in India, and Constitution is the grundnorm of the Country. 

Modern Concept of Rule of Law-

Due to various reasons, Dicey’s Rule of Law was not accepted in totality. The modern concept of Rule of Law is given by Davis: 1) Law and Order, 2) Fixed Rules, 3) Elimination of discretion, 4) Due process of law, 5) Natural Justice, 6) Judicial review, 7) Preference for judges and ordinary courts to execute authorities and tribunals.

Rule of Law in the Constitution of India-

In the case of Indira Nehru Gandhi V. Raj Narain (AIR 1975 SC 2299), Court regarded that Rule of Law is a part of the basic structure of the Constitution and cannot be abrogated by the Parliament. 

Related Articles in the Indian Constitution-

  1. Article 13- The Constitution of India is the supreme law of the land and other laws should be in conformity with the constitution. If any law is found to be violative of the constitution then it is declared invalid or void.

  2. Article 14- Article 14 provides for Equality before law or the equal protection of the laws. It ensures that all are equal before the law. Article 14 prevents class legislation but allows reasonable classification. Any action of the state which is arbitrary or without any justifiable reason will be against Article 14.

  3. Article 21- Article21 guarantees to all persons which includes citizens as well as non-citizens the right to life and personal liberty.

Exceptions to the Rule of Law in India-

Rule of Law in some cases is not followed absolutely in India. Article 361 says that the President or the Governor of a state shall not be answerable to any court for the exercise and performance of the powers and duties of his office.

Article 361(2) provides immunity to the President and the Governor of any state against the criminal proceedings. 

According to Article 361(3), The president or Governor of any state is immune from the process of arrest or imprisonment.

Article 361(4), provides as immunity to the President or the governor of any state against any civil proceedings.

However, it is to be noted that these exceptions are created by the Constitution itself, and the persons enjoying these exceptions cannot be termed to said to be above the law.

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