Author: Palki Vats, II Year of Ph.D in Law from G.D. Goenka University, Gurugram.
The term rule of law means no one is above the law. In other words, it can be said that even if any person is holding a high position in a particular field or even if a person is earning through which he or she could barely fulfill one’s own daily needs, so in both the cases the law will be considered to be above. Discrimination will not be made on the basis of religion, caste, race and wealth when the term “law” comes into the picture. When one person appears before court, then no advantage will be given on any basis. It is required for the rule of law that any person will not be given any such kind of cure which is severe or unfair despite the fact that law and order needs to be protected.
According to Dicey, “With us every official from the Prime Minister down to a constable or a Collector of taxes is under the same responsibility for every act done without legal justification as any other citizen”. Now let’s discuss in detail all the three explanations of the Rule of Law as laid down by Professor Dicey which are as follows:
Absence of Arbitrary Power or Supremacy of the Law
It means that law will be supreme at all times. This does not mean that the government cannot use its power in an unjustifiable manner. The authorities who have power to punish people in case they break the law cannot punish people on a groundless basis. Authorities cannot punish people if they have not violated the law.
For e.g., traffic officers are under an obligation to see to it that people while driving follow rules or not, and if people break such laws, then punishment will be given, but if people follow all the rules while driving, then they should not misuse their power by punishing them in such a scenario. Punishment must be given for only that offence which a person has committed and not for any other such act which is not considered an offence. Only then will be said that law is supreme and above all.
Equality before the law
This means that the law is same for each and everyone. The law does not vary depending upon your income, religion, caste, socio-economic element or gender. In fact, this includes all the authorities and governmental departments. In the eyes of law which is administered by ordinary courts, people will be treated equally, and if any person commits any wrongful or an illegal act, then such person will be given a punishment depending upon the degree of wrong that he or she has done.
Prevalence of Legal Spirit
It means that The Indian Constitution is an outcome of the verdict taken by the Indian Judiciary. Rights such as the Right to Personal Liberty and the Freedom of Arrest can be availed by the citizens only if these rights are imposed in the ordinary courts of law.
Rule Of Law Under Indian Constitution
In the of Indian democracy, the element is called rule of law has played an important part. When the Indian Constitution was getting shaped, two options i.e. USA and England were present at that time. So, India took some provisions from the USA and took some provisions from England. Speaking of the rule of law, it was embraced in England. The Indian Constitution is regarded to be sovereign and above each and every citizen. The principle called “rule of law” is indirectly provided in the preamble of the Indian Constitution. Part III of the Indian Constitution has preserved the said principle.
But, if any of the rights of any person, laid down in Part III of the Indian Constitution gets violated then such person can go to the Supreme Court under Article 32 and also to the High Court under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution. If the Central Government or any State Government makes any law, then such law must be made on the lines of the Indian Constitution. Also, if the legislature makes any law which violates any of the provisions of the Constitution, then such law will be announced as invalid and, ultimately, such law will not come into force.
There are some more powers which are given to the Supreme Court. The supreme Court can issue writs which are: Habeas Corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto and certiorari. In addition to this, the Supreme Court has also been provided with the power of judicial review so that the Rule of Law could be protected.
Role Of Indian Judiciary
The term “rule of law” has been discussed in some cases, which are as follows:
ADM Jabalpur v. Shivkant Shukla
Som Raj v. State of Haryana
Union of India v. Raghubir Singh
Chief Settlement Commissioner, Punjab v. Om Prakash
Keshvananda Bharti v. State of Kerela
Maneka Gandhi v. The union of India
Gadakh Yashwantrao Kankarrao v. Balasaheb Vikhe Patil
Secretary, State of Karnataka and Others v. Umadevi
In all the above cases, the concept of “rule of law” was given importance and was regarded as one of the most important aspects of the doctrine of basic structure. It was observed in all the above-mentioned cases that the Rule of Law needs to be preserved for the smooth and proper functioning of the society.
It can be concluded from the above discussion that law is supreme and the principle of “rule of law” is the best way through which law will always be regarded as sovereign. Even the courts also make it a point to give decisions in such a way so that rule of law could be associated with the rights of the citizens. It also becomes the duty of the government to ensure that they will work on the lines of laws and also to let people enjoy their respective rights in a rightful manner.