The concept of rule of law means governance by law and not by men. Law will
be the supreme commanding force in every form of government which means that
people in power who are making the laws will also be governed by the same laws.
According to the definition of the Rule of law, it means that the Government is
based on the general acceptance of law. The concept outlined by Dicey, Law of
the Constitution (1881) - the regular law of the land predominates over and
excludes the arbitrary exercise of power by the government, all people are
equivalently subject to the law operated by the ordinary courts and that law is
derived from individuals' rights as declared by the courts.
Government Based on general acceptance of law means that the government will be
chosen according to the law of the land and will be following the same laws. The
people in power will act as the sword of a warrior named Law which performs the
functions given by him and acts as a protector of a warrior and his companion.
Simply put, "rule of law" means that the law of the land takes precedence above
any other elected official or authority in a nation. It is deduced from the
French term "la principe de legalite," which defines a government that is
operated by the law rather than by persons in power. Different individuals have
given different interpretations to the phrase, in many nations. Aristotle was
one of several notable philosophers who made an effort to provide a
comprehensive definition. He strived to justify the theory by connecting it to
the rule of reason and other laws of natural justice.
The idea of the rule of law considers the law to be the supreme power. The
meaning of the phrase "Rule of law" is that the law, not the king or the chosen
representatives of the people, is in charge of running the state and governing
it. The concept of the Rule of Law has a long history of origination and is also
It is great because it was recommended by jurists like Plato and ancient Greek
philosophers like Aristotle "According to these philosophers men will only enjoy
all the gifts that a state received from god." Aristotle acknowledged the idea
of the Rule of law when he said the law should govern and those who are
appointed to hold supreme power should be only guardians and servants of law
Aristotle pronounced the idea that law is above the lawmaker and the lawmaker is
not above the law. He is only the guardian of laws protecting them and properly
The Origination Of The Concept Of The Rule Of Law
The concept of the Rule of law was formulated by Sir Edward Coke in the 17th
Century. Sir Adward Coke was the Chief Justice in the court of King James I.
Once an argument arose between King James I and Adward Coke that "Whether Law
Is Supreme Or King.
" Sir Edward Coke won the argument that the law is
supreme over the lawmakers. He further established the supremacy of the law over
the government and said that there is no higher authority than the law. Later
on, he was killed by King James I.
Dicey's Rule of Law
Professor AV Dicey in 1885 wrote a book The Spirit of Laws in which he stated
that the concept of The Rule of Law incorporates 3 principles:
- Supremacy Of Law
- Equality Before Law
- Predominance Of Legal Spirit
Supremacy Of Law
According to the 1st Principle of AV Dicey, Supremacy of law means that people
are ruled by the law and there is absolute power. According to this principle,
the law of the land is supreme and serves as a ground norm for society. The
people making the laws are also under the ambit of these laws and the laws are
similarly applicable to them as on any other person. In other words, if a man
commits a breach of law, then he shall be punished on the grounds made by the
law and not on the will of the government.
Equality Before Law
According to the 2nd Principle of Dicey, equality before the law means that
everyone is treated equally before the eyes of the law and there is no
inequality based on caste, sex, religion, colour etc. The person's status,
position or circumstances won't matter. The law should not be arbitrary and is
equally applicable to every person in the society.
This principle is based on the theory of Aristotle that equals should be treated
equally and unequal's should be treated unequally. Equality before the law means
that the law will be equally applicable to everyone and a person's status will
not determine the applicability of law on him. Further, Dicey is of the view
that everyone must be governed by the same laws and decisions must be taken in
the same courts.
Predominance Of Legal Spirit
According to 3rd Principle of Dicey, Legal spirit is the term used to describe
the spirit of Justice, the idea supports the theory that justice should guide
law and not the people. The rights and freedoms available to the individuals
should be taken from rituals, traditions and customary laws prevalent in the
society. Dicey emphasizes more of the view that the court of laws plays a major
role in deciding an individual's fate and thus acts as an absolute protector,
not the written constitution.
Rule Of Law In India
India chose the common law system of justice, which had its origins in British
jurisprudence, as the foundation for its legal system. India's constitution
makes clear that it wants to be a nation where the law is supreme. It states
that the Constitution is the only source of legitimate authority for the
executive and administrative branches of government. power. The notion of the
Rule of Law cannot be carried out in its spirit and letter unless all
governmental instrumentalities are required to carry out their duties in a just
and equitable manner.
Rule Of Law Under Indian Constitution
The Upanishads are where India's legal system began. The idea is still widely
used in India because it was incorporated by the constitution's authors. The
principle of the Rule of Law is restored since the constitution recognizes India
as a sovereign nation. The preamble provided in the Constitution provides the
fundamental beliefs and ideals that the Constitution ought to uphold because
they are crucial to the interests of the people.
The preamble proclaimed the principles of the Constitution�equality, liberty,
and fraternity. Anything that conflicts with the Constitution shall be found
invalid by the court. The Constitution is the supreme law of the land.
Article 14 of the Indian Constitution incorporates the Rule of law and states
that everyone is given equal protection under the law and treated equally before
the law by the state. According to Article 14, everyone is subject to the rule
of law, which means that the law is supreme and there is no room for arbitrary
The rule of law is profoundly ingrained in Indian politics, although it was
originally inspired by British jurisprudence. The regulation was considered by
the drafters of the constitution, who also ensured that it was correctly
included in the nation's framework. Because s III, which is the People's
fundamental rights. The judiciary has played a role in ensuring that the people
receive justice by strengthening all of the processes outlined in the
The rule of Law is a mechanism that is fundamental in ensuring peace, and
security and maintaining political balance and it supports the equality of all
citizens before the eyes of the law and provides protection of citizen's rights
in a country.
Rule of law ensures that in a democratic country like India, a proper procedure
is followed by the court whenever a man commits a breach of law and he is
punished according to the laws established since it's the only means to give the
system authority so that power can be used indiscriminately.
Written By: Tisha Grover,
- Leslie-B.-Curzon,-Paul H.Richards - The Longmans Dictionary of Law (7th
BBA LL.B (Hons.), V Sem 3rd Year Symbiosis
Law School, Noida, U.P