Chief Justice of India, N V Ramana, views that Rule of law is what we fought for and Rule by law is an instrument of colonial rule. In the face of a pandemic, it’s important to reflect on how the tension between the two defines the quality of justice.
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Rule of law
Rule of law means is that all laws apply equally to all citizens of the country and no one can be above the law. Any crime or violation of law has a specific punishment as well as a process through which the guilt of the person has to be established.
It also says that no person shall be subject to harsh, uncivilized or discriminatory treatment even for the sake of maintaining law and order.
Principles of Rule of law
A.V. Dicey, a Constitutional expert, had developed this concept and defined 3 principles that govern the rule of law.
- Absence of arbitrary power(supremacy of law)
- Equality before law(No one is above law)
- Predominance of legal spirit.
Significance of Rule of law
Rule of law is a system where laws rule and not men. The following points highlight the significance of Rule of law
- It reverses the tyranny or anarchy
- It puts legal barriers to governmental arbitrariness
- It provides safeguards for the protection of individuals
- It gives freedom to the judiciary to control the executive who exceeds their jurisdiction
- Public welfare should be the dominant consideration
Some Related Links:
|Privilege Motion||Conjugal rights|
|Important Supreme Court Judgements||Right to Equality (Articles 14 – 18)|
Exceptions to Rule of law
- Foreign sovereigns (rulers), ambassadors and diplomats enjoy immunity from civil and criminal proceedings.
- UNO and its agencies enjoy diplomatic immunity.
Rule by law
- Rule by law means using law as a tool of political repression and enforcing it unequally on the parties, with a different set of rules favouring a few sections of the society.
- Rule by law can become an instrument of oppression. It can give legitimacy to the enactment of laws which may grossly violate basic human rights.
Examples of Rule by law
- Britishers used “Rule by Law”, rather than “Rule of Law”, as it aimed at controlling the Indian subject. Our struggle for independence thus marked our journey towards the establishment of a state defined by the Rule of Law.
- Nazi Germany put Jews in concentration camps and thereafter sent them to the gas chambers. The justification offered was that there was a law which empowered such acts to be done. But that was rule by law, not Rule of Law.
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