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