Rule of Law

According to Massey, Rule of Law is a dynamic concept and does not have a distinct definition. Rule of Law is said to be a bunch of Rules which are based on the principles of Freedom, Equality, Non-Discrimination, Fraternity, Accountability and Non- Arbitrariness.

In the Indian Constitution, Rule of Law has been adopted under the Preamble of the Constitution where the ideals of justice, liberty and equality are enshrined. The Constitution has been made the Supreme Law of the Country (Fundamental Law of the Land) and other laws derive their validity from the Constitution. The other Laws are required to be in conformity with the Constitution. Nevertheless, the Courts have the onus to declare any law either valid or invalid.


Part 111 of the Constitution guarantees certain fundamental rights with respect to Rule of Law. Article 13 (1) of the Constitution makes it amply clear that all the laws enforce in the territory of India, immediately before the commencement of the Constitution shall be void  In so far as they are inconsistent with the Fundamental Rights. Article 13 (2) provides that the State should not make any law which takes away or abridges the fundamental rights and any law which takes away or abridges the fundamental rights and any law made in  contravention of this clause shall, to the extent of that contravention be void.

Laws Inconsistent with or in Derogation of the Fundamental Rights-

(1)  All laws in force in the territory of India immediately before the commencement of this constitution, in so far as they are inconsistent with the provisions of the Part, shall to the extent of such inconsistency be void

(2)  The State shall not make an law which takes away or abridges the rights conferred by this part and any law made in contravention of this clause shall, to the extent of the contravention be void



The question before the Court was “Whether there was any Rule Of Law in India apart from Article 21”? This was in context of suspension of enforcement of Article 14, 21 and 22 during the proclamation of emergency. Majority of the Bench answered this issue in the negative and observed- “The Constitution is the mandate. It is the Rule of Law. There cannot be any Rule of Law other than the Constitutional Rule of Law. There cannot be any pre-constitution or post Constitution Rule of Law which can run counter to the Rule of Law. There cannot be any Rule of Law embodied in the Constitution nor there any invocation to any Rule of Law to nullify the Constitutional Provisions during the times of emergency.

Article 21 is our Rule of Law Regarding life and personal liberty. No other Rule of Law can have separate existence as a distinct right. The Rule of Law is not mere a catchword and is not a law of nature consistent and invariable at all times. However, Justice HR Khanna did not agree with the majority view and observed the following-

Rule of Law is the Anti-Thesis of Arbitrariness. It is accepted in all civilized societies. It seeks to maintain a balance between the opposite notions of individual liberty and public order. The principle that no one shall be deprived of the life and liberty without the Authority of Law was not the gift of the Indian Constitution. It was necessary corollary of the concept related to the sanctity of life and liberty. Even in the absence of Article 21 of the Constitution. The State has got no power to deprive a man/woman of his/her life or liberty without the authority of law. This is one of the essential postulates and basic assumption of the Rule of Law and not of men in all civilized nations.


The Supreme Court observed that the absence of arbitrary power is the primary postulate of Rule of Law upon which the whole Constitution is depended. It means that Rule of Law is that where the Government should be conducted within a Framework of Recognized Rules and Principles which restricts discretionary powers.


Justice PN Bhagvati has emphasized that the Rule of Law excludes Arbitrariness and Unreasonableness. To ensure this, he has suggested that it is necessary to have a democratic legislature to make laws but its power should not be unfettered and that there should be an Independent Judiciary to protect the citizens against the excess of Executive and Legislative Power.

In addition to this, the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of P Sambamurthy v State of Andhra Pradesh has declared a provision authorizing the executive to interfere with tribunal justice as unconstitutional characterizing it as “Violative of The Rule of Law which is clearly a basic and essential feature of the Constitution.”

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

Do follow me on FacebookTwitter  Youtube and Instagram.

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