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Rule of Law: An Indian Decree

India, the largest democracy in the world sticks to the principle of La Principe De Legalite which means rule of law. The genesis of the Rule of Law concept can be followed back to the Ancient Romans during the time of the principal republic; it has since been supported by a few archaic masterminds in Europe like Hobbs, Locke, and Rousseau and in India, rationalists like Chanakya have additionally upheld law and order theory in their own particular manner, by keeping up that the King ought to be represented by the expression of law.[1]

The firm reason for the Rule of Law hypothesis was clarified by A. V. Dicey and his hypothesis on law and order stays the most famous. The priority for law and order is significant for the residents of the state because when challenged with a political build that is constantly inclined to expand its compass and grow its power, residents cannot resist the urge to feel swamped by the power of the government. Therefore, it is reasonable to adopt the concept of rule of law, according to which the country is governed by the set of rules that is often termed as, “law of the land.”

The Constitution of India expected India to be a nation represented by law and order which means it intended to adopt the approach of the rule of law. The very concept was borrowed from England by the framers of the Indian Constitution. Rule of law is codified under Article 14 of the Indian Constitution, which states that, every person in the country of India shall have equality before law and everyone should be provided with equal protection of law in the land of India.

Further, it is given under Article 13(1) of the Indian Constitution that, Constitution should be the supreme authority in the country and the legislative, the judiciary and the executives shall act in accordance to the principles enshrined within it, as they derive their authority from the Constitution itself.

In case any law framed by the legislature is not in consonance with the terms of the Constitution, it shall deem to be invalid as per the Article 13(1). In Indian context, since the rule of law is the very essence of the Constitution, it means that the country shall be governed by the law, which is considered to be supreme, and not by any individual or group of individuals.

Even in the Kesavananda Bharti case[2], it was held by the highest court of authority, that the Rule of Law is the core of the basic structure of the Indian Constitution hence, no amendment can be made by any Act of Parliament with respect to it, which elucidates that the law is superior to all the other authorities held by people. Further, Article 32 enshrined under the Constitution of India, even regarded as the heart and soul of the Indian Constitution, ensures the applicability of the rule of law.

It provides the right to a person to move to the court of law (Supreme Court) in case of any violation of his or her rights, which in a way fulfils the requisites of the rule of law. The main objective behind this concept is to ensure the superiority of law over individuals and to guarantee the fairness in the justice system of the nation. As there are numerous of advantages of this concept, likewise there are certain pitfalls of the concept, which might not be beneficial to people, individually and to the country wholly.

It has been often criticized that the Rule of Law in India is just a hypothesis with no viable application. It can even be observed that corruption is ubiquitous in the country and majority of the time, decisions taken by the government are politically influenced. Hence, it can be gathered that the concept of rule of law only exists on paper and is barely into practice.

Apart from the major issue of corruption in India and ambiguity in the justice frameworks, there additionally exists the issue of old laws that are still in existence. India does not embrace a 'nightfall' provision in its laws and post-freedom the Indian Independence Act imparted that all laws existing under the provincial rulers would keep on existing under the new framework except if expressly repudiated by the parliament.[3]  Therefore, it is evident that whatever is codified as law might not have any implication in actuality.

As these issues continue to exist, the constitution has given enough assurance to believe that the Rule of Law in one way or the other will consistently endure. It is even mandated that the basic structure (basic features) of the Indian Constitution cannot be amended, which ensures the supremacy of law in the society, equality in the nation and fair opportunity to seek justice. Further, in the Maneka Gandhi case[4], it was held that any arbitrary decision made by the government would not affect the rights of the people, which are protected by the provision of law. Hence, it can be concluded that the governance of the country “India” is based upon the concept of supremacy of the law and no powerful person or authority can subdue the rights of people, which are guaranteed to them by the law itself.

End-Notes:
  1. Bhavani Kumar, “Rule of Law in India,” 16 November, 2014,https://www.lawctopus.com/, Accessed 07 April, 2021.
  2. Kesavananda Bharti Sripadagalvaru & Others V/S. State of Kerala (Writ Petition (Civil) 135 of 1970).
  3. Supra Note 1.
  4. Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India, 1978 AIR 597, 1978 SCR (2) 621.

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