Rule of Law in India

Rule of Law in India

Indian perspective

Rule of law is the topmost commandment for a society to work in a harmonious way. Without the rule of law, there would be complete anarchy in the world, and societies all over the world would not be able to survive. As we can learn from our great Hindu scriptures whenever there is a breakdown of rule of law in society god takes birth in one of its incarnations to remove the evil from society and to restore rule of law in society. This is the importance which we Indians attach to the rule of law in our society since the time immemorial.

Western world perspective

Rule of law in the western world can be originally attributed to the works of Edward coke (England) when he famously remarked that the king must be under the god and law. He meant the Supremacy of law over the executive. We can construe from Edward coke statements that he basically meant that absence of arbitrary power exercised on the part of government which means that the administration possesses no discretionary powers apart from those conferred by the law.

One of the foremost principles of rule of law can be inferred from Edward Coke’s statement is that no man is punishable or can be made to suffer in body or goods except for a distinct breach of law established in the ordinary legal manner before the ordinary courts of the land.

One of the main contributors to the evolution of the rule of law principle was Dicey:

Dicey expounded basically three principles under the rule of law –

1. Supremacy of law: Originally in the words of dicey the absolute Supremacy or  predominance of regular law as opposed to the influence of arbitrary power and excludes the  existence of arbitrariness or even of why discretionary authority on the part of the government.

2. Equality before law- Elaborating the second meaning dicey famously observed not only that no man is above the law but what is a different thing that every man whatever be his rank or condition is subject to the ordinary law of the realm and available to the jurisdiction of the ordinary tribunals in England.

3. Predominance of legal spirit- Dicey expounded on the third principle as his biggest fear that a mere declaration of rights in a document will not provide any security against their being suspended or taken away by an executive or legislative action. In order to secure the rights with greatest strength their existence is to be affirmed through the decisions of the court. Dicey has the role of courts as guarantors Of Liberty in this regard.

  • Some other views of Western lawgivers-

According to professor ECS wade the basic assumption of the rule of law is the absence of arbitrary power on the part of the government. Its basic meaning is that everything must be done according to the law. The secondary meaning of the rule of law is that government should be conducted within a framework of recognized rules and principles which restrict discretionary powers.

  • Rule of law in India under the Indian Constitution:

In the parlance of India, the constitution is supreme the Preamble of our constitution clearly sets out the principle of rule of law when it Lays down the objectives of social economic and political justice equality of status and opportunity and fraternity and dignity of individuals in India.

  • Under the Indian Constitution Part 3-

These rights are justiciable under article 32 2 and 226 of the Constitution of India these articles ensure the people of India A protection from any legislative or executive encroachments laws including ordinance by-laws rules regulations notifications customs or usages having the force of law must conform to the requirements of the constitutional provisions where these do not confirm they will be void under article 13 and other relevant articles of the constitution.

The Supreme Court of India also in the process of interpretation of rule of law vis a vis operation of Administrative powers in several cases emphasized upon the needs of fair and just procedure adequate safeguards against any executive encroachment and personal liberty, free Legal Aid to the poor and speedy trial in criminal cases as necessary adjuncts to the rule of law. What is basically necessary element of rule of law is that the law must not be arbitrary or irrational and must satisfy the test of reason and the democratic form of polity seeks to ensure this element by making the promise of the law accountable to the people

Rule of law has been enshrined in our constitution and every concerned institution from the time of independence due to the hard work of our constitution framers only for a brief period of emergency e rule of law was broken down but since then it has been going on from strength to strength due to the Vigilance of common people of India.

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Author’s Desk


  • Administrative law by Dr. UPD Kesari, 21st edition 2016,


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