Different jurists have defined law differently and from different angles. In
Hindu law, it is known as Dharma, while in Islamic law, it is called Hukum. The
German and French terms for it are Richt and Droit, respectively, while the
Romans called it Jus. The concept of the rule of law is widely accepted in most
countries across the world.
The rule of law holds that neither the people nor the government they elect to
govern them is above the law. It is a basic principle that all people and
institutions must subject to and answer to laws that are justly enacted and
carried out; Morality, or morals, as Paton puts it, is the study of the ultimate
good. Morality deals with the ideas of good and evil in behaviour as well as the
goodness or evil of human nature. Since morality and law were not separate
concepts in the early stages of human history, they were not incompatible.
Ancient Hindu jurists did not distinguish between morality and the rule of law,
just like their contemporaries in the West. Morality is based on either one's
personal conscience or religion.
The post-Reformation European worldview of the period was that morality and law
are two distinct ideas that are unrelated to one another1 . However, law was
again linked to morality when natural law theories became more and more popular
in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Just legal concepts were
prioritised over morality and jurisprudence in legal studies due to analytical
positivism's significant effect.
What Is Morality:
The definition of morality is as follows:
"Our ancestors developed a
system of beliefs and ideas known as morality." The legislature never passes any
laws with moral implications. Law also does not impose morality. Nonetheless,
the legislature has created a number of laws that merge morality and the law
into one piece of legislation. Each person has a unique moral compass. Sometimes
a specific behaviour is moral for one individual but immoral for another.
What Is Rule Of Law:
It is the legal system that upholds the equality of all people. It also ensures
an impartial system of government and specifically prohibits the arbitrary use
of power. Since the creation of laws, how they are carried out, and how they
relate to one another are all governed by the rule of law, nobody is above the
law, not even the most powerful official. Because of their legal constraints,
governments are bound by the same laws that govern their citizens. The idea of
the rule of law takes into account governing by laws rather than the whims,
humour, or valences of the people in power at the time.
The rule of law is based on three fundamental and basic presumptions: first,
that a democratically elected legislature must hold the majority of the power to
make laws; second, that even within the hands of such a legislature, there
should not be unrestricted legislative authority because, as In order to prevent
abuses of power, Thomas Jefferson famously advised, "Let no man be trusted with
power; instead, tie him down from making mischief by the chains of the
Constitution." He also stated that an independent judiciary was necessary. The
requirement that laws pass the test of reason and not be arbitrary or capricious
is an essential part of the rule of law.
By keeping the people who wrote the laws accountable, the democratic form of
government seeks to ensure this element. Everywhere we find unreasonableness or
arbitrariness, the rule of law is denied. For this reason, Aristotle preferred a
government based on laws to one based on men. No matter how arbitrarily or
oppressively enacted a piece of legislation may be, the term "law" in the
context of the rule of law does not apply to it.
In 1885, A.V. Dicey introduced the concept of the rule of law, stating three
points related to rule of law:
- Predominance of legal spirit.
- Equality before law
- Supremacy of law.
Law And Morality:
The relationship between morality and the law shapes the legal system. Moral
principles�justice, equity, good faith, and conscience�have formed the
cornerstone upon which the law was built. The formulation and implementation of
laws are influenced by morality. Since few rules would be in conflict with
public morality, it is evident that morality is ingrained in the legal system.
The Confucian notion of the inward Sage and External King holds that inward
moral growth in the manner of a sage forms the foundation of rule. This
synthesis of Confucius's texts, prevalent Chinese idioms, and moral principles.
At first, morality and the law were one and the same. In ancient India, morality
and law were seen as synonymous, with most laws deriving from the moral precepts
found in the Vedas and Puranic texts.
The natural rights idea, which formed the theoretical moral foundation for
European law, was created by the Greeks. In the Middle Ages, Christian
principles were seen as the cornerstone of the law. But as time passed,
variations between the two might be observed in real-world applications.
Throughout the European Reformation, there were arguments that morality and law
were distinct and independent, and that the state, not morality, was the source
of law's authority. In the 17th and 18th centuries, morality gave the natural
laws a foundation, and morality and law were linked. Morality originates from
conscience or faith.
Difference Between Law And Morality:
There was no separation between morality and the law in prehistoric society. It
was supposed that they were both the same individual. As the Middle Ages
approached, faith provided the spiritual foundation for the law. Modern thinkers
of the post-Reformation era highlighted the distinction between morality and the
law. Among the main distinctions between morality and the law are:
- While morality is concerned with the public's sense of good and evil,
law is concerned with an individual's right to privacy.
- A man's behavior is governed by the law when he is a member of a certain
society, but morality still governs him when he is by himself.
- A man's acts are taken into consideration by the law, but morality also
considers things like inner resolve and willpower direction.
Laws are enforced through "external coercion," while values stem from an
individual's freedom of choice. H.L.A. Hart distinguished four cardinal features
of morality that set it apart from other categories of social standards and from
the laws. Four points serve as the foundation for Hart's arguments: the nature
of moral pressure, wilful character or moral infractions, resistance to
purposeful transformation, and significance.
While legal requirements do require exterior acts and are unconcerned with
motives, intentions, or other interior accomplishments of conduct, morality is
implied to require just goodwill or a proper intention or reason. Pound believed
that morality and laws shared a common ancestor, but they evolved in various
forms. Bentham believed that morality and law shared a similar inner core but
had very different outer layers.
Relationship Between Law And Morality:
There is a tight relationship between ethics and law, even though they are
studied independently. Law and morality are two things that support one another.
The moral code is taught to people through ethics. It demonstrates the
distinctions between the truth and deceit. It gives us insight into the morality
and appropriateness of our deeds. It helps us to think morally and fortifies our
It makes our moral standards stronger. Legislation passed by states serves the
same purpose. Moral laws, for example, are those that are enacted with the goal
of outlawing transgressions and wrongdoings such as alcohol consumption,
gambling, theft, dacoity, and murder. They enhance our human development and
evoke spiritual feelings in us. Only these morally sound norms survive. Moral
ideals-based anticivilization cannot progress.
In a culture that supports crime, people won't be preoccupied with considering
their individual achievements. They will therefore return to their former degree
of ferocity. People who live in bad states will be bad, and people who live in
good states will be good. As a result, the state bears sole responsibility for
upholding moral standards.
It is almost sinful to implement policies that discriminate against people on
the basis of caste, creed, colour, race, clan, tribe, community, or class. In
general, laws serve as a reflection of morality. Most democracies only have
morality as their guiding principle rather than a rule like that. Wilson is
right when he asserts that the evolution of morality within a state determines
Because of this, the sovereign power that has the authority to enact laws gives
special consideration to the morality code, which states that "the line between
the illegal and the immoral is blurry." Law, on the other hand, is a barometer
of moral advancement because it represents public opinion. Laws and the
government have an impact on public opinion and mood.
Morality In Rule Of Law:
Ronald Dworkin argues that political and ethical ideals are intrinsically linked
to laws and constitutions. The law does not logically imply the established true
moral principles. Rather, lawmakers who reach a consensus on laws that represent
a political agreement on what is right and wrong are in charge of governing it.
Morality and the rule of law are closely related because morality serves as a
complement to the latter.
It should still be understood, nevertheless, as a tenuous relationship between
the two since moral principles do not establish or shape laws; rather, they are
shaped by a legal consensus about what is right and wrong. Furthermore, morality
has no constitutional value and is never enforceable, even though it influences
the formulation and revision of laws. The rule of law prioritizes the supremacy
of the law, whereas morality places the moral principles and consciences of the
state's citizens first.
For example, a man is free to ignore the health of his elderly parents and has
no duty to help beggars or the impoverished; however, morality prohibits such
behavior because it would be considered immoral and goes against morals and
ethics. It is debatable, but morality cannot serve as the exclusive basis for
the creation of laws.
Morality and ethics emerged in the civilization that first governed people's
behavior are where laws got their start. One could argue that morality and the
rule of law have developed alongside civilization. Therefore, morality is only
marginally present in the rule of law, despite being strongly opposed to it.
Whether Laws Should Be Value-Free Or Should Follow Some Values
Even though it would seem that values have no bearing on the law and that it
should apply to everyone equally, this is not the case. Still, this argument
does not take into account the notion that legal equality for all is a value
Even if the law appears to have no value, it nonetheless exists and is a tool
for achieving objectives. Law is a tool, and its application depends on the
values it seeks to uphold or upon which it is based.
Therefore, it is nonsensical to claim that laws are devoid of morality. The
system is based on some innate values. The belief that the state ought to
safeguard an individual's rights is a fundamental principle that will direct the
development of laws and policies. The concept of the government is based on the
idea that every person has the right to freedom, and that notion no longer
renders the law unimportant.
Furthermore, even though CLS rejects the notion that politics influences law,
they acknowledge that society shapes the law and that it evolves in response to
it. Thus, each law has some significance. Even if a system has some innate
values, can an individual's morality influence the law or a court's rulings?
Hart And Fuller Debate:
Hart contends that the autonomy and independence of law do not require it to
make reference to something greater than itself. Natural law theorists contend
that morality is the foundation of law. Hart is in favor of morality and the law
being kept apart.
Hart addressed three criticisms of positivism: the problem of penumbra, morally
reprehensible laws, and law as a command. The second and third criticisms are
pertinent to this discussion, but the first is not. The endeavor to ascertain
meaning in situations where the law is unclear is known as the penumbra problem.
Fuller has contended that judges determine what is from what ought to be in
these circumstances. Hart retorted that the concept of "what ought to be" is
understood from a legal framework rather than a moral one. Uncertainty is
resolved within the legal system itself, not by making references to sources
outside of it.
The legal system is self-standing, according to positivists. We make decisions
about what should be done from within the legal system. Outside of the legal
system, there is no appeal. The legal system gives rise to the idea of fidelity
to the law, which holds that one should aim to make the law consistent.
Therefore, fidelity itself is outside the legal domain. Because of this,
positivists claim that the legal system is faithful. This brings us to our third
criticism: it is morally reprehensible. According to Fuller, laws that cause
infractions and genocides must have a legal justification. Hart claims that he
adheres to a minimum content theory of natural law in order to refute this
argument. This indicates that he will permit morality to have some influence on
However, this influence is only as great as what is necessary to keep the law
consistent. Hart, according to Fuller, is conscious of his own morality. He
calls it the application of justice in the legal system. They must be concerned
with certain aspects of justice, such as natural justice.
Positivists agree with natural justice concepts. We use the laws of Nazi Germany
to help us understand the debate on morally repugnant legislation. Here, the
issues were whether the laws passed at the time were still applicable and
whether those who followed them ought to face consequences. Even if the law
violated some people's rights, positivists would argue that it was still the
People who obey the law shouldn't be penalized for doing so. Natural law
theorists would argue that since this law broke some higher principles, it
cannot be considered law in and of itself. Therefore, those who do so ought to
Some jurists confuse morality and law when the majority of them maintain that
the two are separate. However, morality and the law respond to, interact with,
and affect one another. Under the guise of justice, equity, good faith, and
conscience, morality has seeped into the legal system. Moral considerations are
essential when establishing, interpreting, and applying judicial discretion.
The question of whether morality exists in the rule of law is one that is
frequently discussed because, while morality is the foundation of the law, which
is frequently praised for its supremacy, the application and practice of the law
only partially adapts these moral principles. Laws undoubtedly have values
associated with them, but morality should only play a minimal role in the legal
system. Laws must have a basis in reason in order for people to obey them.
In the end, the system breaks down if people don't obey the law. The moral
context of this reasoning is established. According to Hart, morality must be
included to a minimal extent in order to maintain systemic consistency. The
morality of laws must be consistent with other laws and adhere to the
In terms of interpretation, Hart's position on judges functioning inside the
legal system and applying other laws to deduce possible interpretations is
persuasive because it would prohibit judges from passing new law.