Origin of Rule of Law: ROL signifies the importance of law and gives law a
supreme position in the administration and governance of a nation. The term has
its origin in the French phrase- 'La Principe de Legalite'1. The meaning of this
term is principle of legality.
The concept of Rule was introduced by Sir Edward Coke2 and further developed by
A.V. Dicey in 1885.3 The book 'Introduction of the study of Law of the
Constitution' written by A.V. Dicey describes the essence and importance and
elaborates the theory in elaboration and defines its principles of Supremacy of
Law, equality before Law and predominance of legal spirit.4
Three Postulates Of Rule Of Law Given By A.V. Dicey
A.V. Dicey further developed the concept of the Rule of Law in his book
"Introduction, to the Law of Constitution (1885)." According to Dicey ROL
implies that no individual should be punished or suffer any consequences unless
there is a breach of the law and that everyone is subject to the law's
authority. Therefore, the term "Rule of Law" signifies that the law holds power,
over government. Dicey's Theory of the ROL is based on three principles:
Supremacy of Law:
Dicey believed that the ROL encompasses the concept of supremacy of law over all
other authorities and even the lawmakers. Punishment should only be imposed if
someone has indeed broken the law and their alleged violation has been proven in
a court proceeding following procedures. No immunity and arbitrary powers
against laws are provided to government and public officials.
Equality before Law:
It pertains to the notion that all individuals regardless of their standing, are
subject, to the jurisdiction of the ordinary courts and abide, by the country's
laws. The law applies equally to everyone leaving no room for anyone to be
exempted based on their position.
Predominance of Legal Spirit:
The concept of justice is often associated with the spirit of legality. This
concept emphasizes the belief that the judiciary should be kept independent to
enforce the spirit of the Law. Courts work for the protection of rights and to
ensure that justice is delivered the courts should be made impartial and
To what extent do constitutional provisions and judicial doctrines influence the
implementation of the Rule of Law in administrative practices across India, the
United Kingdom, and the United States?
The main purpose of this study is to carefully analyze and distinguish the
implementation of the legal system in India, the United Kingdom and the United
States, with special emphasis on organizational law. This research aims to
explain how the legal system, case law and regulatory framework contribute to
the implementation of the law in each region.
Through a comparative analysis, the study seeks to reveal unique ways and shared
values that govern the legal system, with an emphasis on fairness, transparency
and justice in administrative practices.
Scope Of Research Study
This paper includes a critical analysis of the ROL and its application in India,
the United Nations and the United Kingdom. The areas of analysis include the
application of the ROL in the constitution, administrative authorities and
Primary sources such as statutes, journals are used. Secondary sources such as
websites and books are used.
Application Of Rule Of Law In India
The Indian constitution is the supreme law in India. All the laws must be made
in accordance with the same. The association, between the Indian Constitution
and the ROL is fundamental and interdependent forming the basis of the country's
governance system. Enacted in 1950 the Indian Constitution meticulously embodies
principles such as justice, liberty and equality capturing the essence of the
Important constitutional provisions like Article 14 which ensures equality
before the law 5 Article 21 which safeguards life and personal liberty6 and
directive principles that guide state policies collectively exemplify a
commitment to upholding the ROL.
The judiciary's crucial role majorly- Article 327 and Article 2268, emphasized
by doctrines like Basic Structure and principles such as considering the ROL a
foundational element further strengthens the dedication to governing power with
legal principles. In addition, to protecting rights the Constitution establishes
a legal framework that ensures clarity, accessibility, and constitutional review
of laws. The ROL embodied in the Constitution acts as a guiding principle to
ensure that government actions adhere to norms while promoting transparency,
accountability, and safeguarding freedoms.
Relation Of The Rule Of Law With:
Application Of The Rule Of Law In The United Kingdom
- Article 14 - Equality before Law:
The ROL is built on the core principle that everyone, irrespective of their
status must abide by the set of laws9. It upholds the idea of equality,
which plays a role, in preventing any form of unjust discrimination.
- Article 21 - Protection of Life and Personal Liberty:
It strengthens the importance of the ROL by stating that any deprivation of
life or personal freedom must only happen through established procedures. It
emphasizes the significance of following processes, which helps prevent
uncontrolled actions, by the state.
- Article 19 - Protection of Certain Rights regarding Freedom of
It upholds the principle of the ROL, by acknowledging freedoms while also
recognizing that these freedoms can be limited by restrictions imposed by
law.10 This equilibrium guarantees the exercise of rights while respecting
order and morality.
- Article 13- Laws inconsistent with or in derogation of the
It serves as a protector of the ROL by stating that any law that contradicts
or undermines rights will be considered invalid. This provision highlights
the importance of ensuring that laws, whether passed by the legislature or
other governing bodies with the framework. It ensures that the ROL takes
precedence over unfair statutes.
- Doctrine of Basic Structure (Kesavananda Bharati Case)11:
This doctrine supports the ROL by protecting the unchangeable elements of
the Constitution. It prevents modifications that could weaken the framework
ensuring the stability of the legal system based on rules.
- Doctrine of Proportionality (Maneka Gandhi Case)12:
The principle of proportionality is in line with the ROL because it requires
that limitations on rights be reasonable and balanced with the goals they
aim to accomplish. This principle serves as a safeguard, against the
excessive exercise of power by authority.
- Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP):
The DPSPs mentioned in Part-4 (Article: 36-51) of the Indian Constitution
play a role in upholding the ROL by directing the government towards
achieving justice. Article 39A specifically highlights the importance of
treatment13. Providing free legal assistance thereby underscoring the idea
that legal proceedings should be accessible, to everyone.
- Article 141 - Law declared by the Supreme Court to be binding on all
It strengthens the ROL by making the decisions of the Supreme Court binding
on all courts in India. This guarantees an interpretation and implementation
of principles promoting legal certainty and consistency which are
fundamental aspects of the ROL.
- Article 32 - Right to Constitutional Remedies15:
It empowers citizens to seek constitutional remedies, aligning with the ROL
by ensuring that individuals can access legal avenues for the enforcement of
their fundamental rights. It strengthens the accountability of the legal
- Article 226 - Power of High Courts to issue certain writs16:
This article grants High Courts the authority to issue writs that enforce
rights and provide remedies. This provision plays a role, in upholding the
ROL as it allows the judiciary acting through the High Courts to address any
violations of rights or unlawful conduct by authorities.17 It ensures that
everyone has access to justice and reinforces the principle that no one's
exempt, from legal accountability.
- Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association v. Union of India (Second
The Supreme Court decided stated the lack of arbitrariness is one of the
essential tenets of the ROL.18
Application Of Rule Of Law In United States Of America:
- The concept of the ROL, in the United Kingdom is not just an idea. It is
actually deeply rooted in a network of legal principles, statutes, and
traditions. These laws and legal mechanisms work together to uphold the ROL,
in the UK ensuring that accountability, fairness, and justice are maintained
within its system.
- In 1215 the Magna Carta was framed, which is considered as the
foundation of the ROL in UK. It established the principle that even kings
are subject to constraints. Although some specific provisions have been
repealed or replaced over time its significance highlights a lasting
commitment to limiting power through means19.
- In absence of a written constitution, constitutional conventions provide
guidance for government institutions. These unwritten rules reinforce
adherence to the ROL by setting expectations for how governmental powers
should be exercised.
- Wades Doctrine, derived from law emphasizes that public authorities must
act within boundaries and fulfill their designated purposes. This doctrine
serves as a reinforcement, for upholding the ROL when making decisions.
- The Human Rights Act of 1998 of UK incorporates the European Convention
on Human Rights into law. This act empowers individuals to protect their
rights in courts ensuring the safeguarding of rights and upholding the
- Parliamentary legislation plays a role, in upholding the ROL by
outlining and governing the authority of governmental branches. This is
evident in acts, like the Constitutional Reform Act, 2005 and the Fixed term
Parliaments Act, 2011.
- It took a long time for the notion of the ROL to emerge and mature. In
the United Kingdom, it has even developed to prevent unlimited and
uncontrolled authority. In today's civilized society, the ROL involves a
lengthy confrontation between the monarch and the people, as well as a
struggle for dominance between parliament and the king.
- The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 is
designed to ensure that everyone has access, to justice an aspect of the
ROL21. It achieves this by regulating aid and ensuring that individuals have
the resources to seek legal remedies.
- The Data Protection Act, 201822 and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
are laws that protect individuals rights regarding their data. These laws
prioritize privacy rights and accountability contributing to the ROL by
establishing standards for data protection.
- The Equality Act of 2010 aligns with the principles of the ROL by
emphasizing treatment for all 23.
- The Freedom of Information Act, 2000 promotes transparency and
accountability by granting individuals the right to access information held
by authorities24. This aligns, with the principles of openness and
accountability emphasized in the ROL.
- The concept of the ROL is deeply intertwined with the legal framework in
the United States.
It includes principles such as the supremacy of the constitution, separation
of powers, protection of rights and ensuring equal treatment for all. These
principles contribute to a system that's fair, transparent and accountable.
- The U.S. Constitution serves as the law of the country setting up the
structure, for the government and defining the authorities of its different
branches. It represents the principle of fairness and equality by applying
to everyone including those, in positions of power and safeguarding rights.
- The United States follows the principle of separation of powers, where
political authority is divided among the executive and judicial branches.
This division serves as a safeguard, against misuse of power aligning with
the ROL focuses on limiting authority. The Administrative Procedure Act (APA)
governs how federal agencies establish and enforce rules. It focuses on
ensuring justice, openness, and accountability in administrative law
activities that are consistent with the principles of the ROL.25
- The analysis comparing the ROL, in India, the United Kingdom (UK) and
the United States reveals a blend of principles and unique legal landscapes.
All three jurisdictions emphasize ROL principles, such as the importance of
laws supremacy equality under the law and a strong commitment to values. In
India, these principles are firmly established in the constitution in
Articles 14 and 21 which guarantee equality and safeguard rights and
The UK despite lacking a written constitution relies on conventions,
statutes and the Human Rights Act 1998 to create a legal framework. On the
other hand, the United States maintains supremacy by distributing political
authority among branches to limit power�an approach that aligns with the ROL
focus on constraint.
- Indian laws deal with a bureaucratic structure by empowering its
judiciary through Articles 32 and 226 to ensure adherence to legal norms
within administrative practices. Whereas the UK leans on administrative law
doctrines like the Wades Doctrine that emphasize authorities' obligation to
act within defined boundaries. Similarly in the United States, justice and
accountability in activities are upheld through measures like the
Administrative Procedure Act,. This convergence highlights a shared concern,
for fairness and legality when it comes to administering affairs.
- The legal systems of the UK and the United States rely on a combination
of law principles, constitutional conventions and specific legislation to
uphold the ROL. While both countries prioritize oversight they approach it
differently. In the UK this is supported by acts such, as the Constitutional
Reform Act 2005 while in the United States there is an emphasis on review
and separation of powers to prevent misuse.
- A key aspect of upholding the ROL is ensuring access and protecting
rights. In India for example citizens are guaranteed access to remedies
through provisions like Article 32 which promotes accountability. Similarly,
the UK Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 and the
USs Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Equality Act of 2010 demonstrate
their shared commitment to justice, transparency and equal treatment.
- India aligns with human rights standards as a reflection of its
commitment to legal norms.
The UK incorporates the European Convention on Human Rights through its
Human Rights Act, 1998. These differences in approach are influenced by
cultural and legal contexts. Contribute to a diverse global discussion on
governance and the vital role played by the ROL, in democratic societies.
- The comparative analysis reveals a commitment, to the core principles of
the ROL despite the differences in traditions. This fosters a deeper
comprehension of how legal frameworks intersect, in these jurisdictions.
The predominant principle asserts the vital function of the ROL in preventing
chaos in a social structure. The ROL is nevertheless a crucial legal framework
for the upkeep of social order, despite its acknowledged flaws, inefficiencies,
Its intrinsic anomalies represent the highest of all results that humanity has
forced upon itself. A society cannot survive at all unless the ROL is in place
to protect the legal rights of its members.
This legal theory goes beyond just keeping the peace; it takes on the crucial
role of a regulator and a constraint, preventing the deterioration into a
lawless state akin to the law of the jungle. It functions as a stabilizing
influence, reducing the inherent erratic tendency of people.
When we deal the complex relationship between human desires and animal
instincts, the ROL appears not only as a legal concept but also as a cornerstone
of social development-a legal tool that allows us to rise above chaos and
guarantee a future consistent with principles of fairness, stability, and
- I.P.Massey, Administrative Law 24, (EBC 2022)
- Shubham Mongia, Rule of Law, Legal service India, (Nov. 27, 2023, 9:29 PM),
- C.K Takwani, Lectures On Administrative Law 20, (EBC 2021)
- Supra note 2
- India Const. art. 14
- India Const. art. 21
- India Const. art. 32
- India Const. art. 226
- India Const. art. 14
- India Const. art. 19
- Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala, AIR 1973 SC 1461; (1973) 4 SCC 225.
- Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India, 1978 AIR 597, 1978 SCR (2) 621.
- India Const. art. 39A
- India Const. art. 141
- India Const. art. 32
- INDIA CONST. art. 226
- Ananya Jain, "Rule of Law in India, UK and USA- A Comparative Study, JAL & J (2020)
- Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association v. Union of India, AIR 2015 SC 5457.
- Sahildeep Singh, A Comparative Analysis of Rule of Law in U.K. and India, 6 IJLMH 847, 848, (2021).
- Legal service India (Nov. 27, 2023, 10:04 PM), https://www.legalserviceindia.com/article/l457-Rule-of-Law-%20in-India-&-UK.html.
- Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act, 2012.
- Data Protection Act, 2018, Acts of Parliament, 2018 (UK)
- Equality Act, 2010, Acts of Parliament, 2018 (UK)
- Freedom of Information Act, 2000, Acts of Parliament, 2000 (UK)
- Administrative Procedure Act, 1946, Acts of Parliament, 1946. (US)