What do you understand by the term ‘Rule of Law’?

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Meaning of Rule of Law:

The term ‘Rule of Law’ is taken from England. It means that no man is above the law and that every person is subject to the jurisdiction of ordinary courts of law, irrespective of his rank and position. ‘Rule of Law’ requires that no person should be subjected to harsh, uncivilised or arbitrary treatment.

Rule of Law under Indian Constitution:

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The constitution of India guarantees equality before the law, as an aspect of the rule of law, under Article-14.

Under Article 32, the Supreme Court has power to issue writes in the nature of Habeas Corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warrantor and certiorari. It is also given power of judicial review to prevent any ultra vires law,”to preserve ‘Rule of Law’ Article 15 and 16 of right to equality and Article 19, 20 and 21 in form of right to life and liberty are provisions of our constitution to this affect.

In India, no one has very arbitrary power, except the powers given by the law. The constitution is the Supreme Court law of the land and even the government derives its authority from it. This effectuates the supremacy of law.

Everyone, in India are subject to same laws, without any discrimination, court takes into account no rank or condition

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However, the president and the governors (under Article 361) are given special exemptions. Armed forces personnels are treated by armed laws, officials are given same immunities etc. But these provision do not negate the effectiveness of the rule of law in India, because their provisions are also made by laws, under various provisions of the constitution.

From a poor person to the president, be it a police constable or a collector, are treated by law.

Thus, the Indian constitution effectively applies the rule of law. The Supreme Court in the case of India Nehru, Gandhiji vs. Raj Narain – 1975 held that the rule of law embodied in Article 14 is the ‘basic structure’ of the Indian constitution and hence it cannot be destroyed even by an amendment of the constitution under Article 368 of the constitution.

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