The term ‘Rule of Law’ is nowhere defined in the Indian Constitution yet this term is frequently utilized by the Indian judiciary in their decisions. Rule of law has been announced by the Supreme Court as one of the essential provisions of the Constitution so it cannot be amended even by the constitutional amendment. Rule of law is seen as an integral part of good governance.

To simply understand the significance of rule of law, it implies that no man is above law and furthermore that each individual is subject to the jurisdiction of ordinary courts of law regardless of their position and rank. The term ‘rule of law’ is originated from England and India has taken this idea. The idea of rule of law further requires that no individual ought to be subjected  harsh or arbitrary treatment. The word ‘law’ in rule of law implies that whether he is a man or a society, he should not be governed by a man or ruler but by law. As such, according to Article 13 of the Indian Constitution rule of law means law of land.

As indicated by Black’s Law Dictionary: “Rule of Law” means legal principles of day to day application, approved by the governing bodies or authorities and expressed in the form of logical proposition.

As indicated by Oxford Advance Learner’s Dictionary: “Rule of Law” means the situation in which all the citizens as well as the state are ruled by the law.

The originator of the concept of rule of law was Sir Edward Coke the Chief Justice in James I Reign. He said “King must be under God and Law”. The derivation of the phrase  ‘Rule of Law’ is from the French phrase ‘la principe de legalite’ which implies principle of legality. By this phrase it refers to a government based on principles of law and not of men. One of the basic principles of Constitution is rule of law and this concept is up to standard in both Indian and American Constitution. The doctrine of rule of law is the entire basis of Administrative law. As discussed by Aristotle, the concept of rule of law is grounded in the ideas of justice, fairness and inclusiveness.

In 1885, Professor A.V Dicey fostered this idea of Coke and propounded three principles or postulates of the rule of law in his exemplary book ‘Law and the Constitution’. “With us, every official from Prime Minister down to Constable or Collector of taxes is under the same responsibility for every act done without legal justification as any other citizen”. According to Professor A.V Dicey, for achieving supremacy of law three principles of postulates should be followed which are as follows:


According to the first principle, rule of law refers to the lacking of arbitrariness or wide discretionary power. In order to understand it simply, every man should be governed by law.

According to Dicey, English men were ruled by the law and the law alone and also where there is room for arbitrariness and that in a republic no less than under a monarchy discretionary authority on the part of the Government must mean insecurity for legal freedom on the part of its subjects. There should be absence of wide discretionary powers on the rulers with the goal that they can’t make their own laws however should be governed according to the established laws.


As per the second principle of Dicey, equality before law and equal subjection of all classes to the ordinary law of land to be regulated by the ordinary law courts and this rule emphasizes everybody which included government also regardless of their position or rank. But such element is going through the phase of criticisms and is off track. As expressed by Dicey, there should be equality before law or equal subjection of all classes to the ordinary law of land.


As per the third principle of Dicey, general principles of the Indian Constitution are the aftereffect of the decisions of the Indian judiciary which determine to file rights of private persons in particular cases. As per him, citizens are being guaranteed the certain rights like right to personal liberty and freedom from arrest by numerous constitutions of the states (countries). Only when such privileges are properly enforceable in the courts of law, those rights can be made accessible to the citizens. Rule of law as established by Dicey necessitates that each activity of the administration should be backed and done as per law.


In order to develop Indian democracy, rule of law has assumed an incredible part. At the time of outlining of Constitution, the framers had two choices i.e. USA and England. Some of the provisions were taken from USA and some of them were taken from England. Rule of law was taken from England by our constitutional fathers and many provisions were incorporated in the Indian Constitution. Rule of law is also given impliedly in the preamble and such concept is enshrined in Part III of the Indian Constitution.

In case of infringement of such privileges, one can move toward Supreme Court or High Court under Article 32 and 226 of the Indian Constitution. If any law made by the legislature contradicts with the provisions of the Constitution then such law will be declared void.

There are a plenty of cases where the idea of rule of law was discussed and came into light. Some of the cases are as follows:


This case is otherwise called “Habeas Corpus case”. It is one of the most important case when it comes to rule of law. The question that was raised before the hon’ble court was that whether there was any rule of law in India apart from Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. It was in context relating to the proclamation of emergency where the enforcement of Articles 14, 21 and 22 were suspended.


In this, Supreme Court observed “In our constitutional system, the central and most characteristic feature is the concept of rule of law which means, in the present context, the authority of law courts to test all administrative action by the standard of legality. The administrative or executive action that does not meet the standard will be set aside if the aggrieved person brings the matter into notice”.


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.

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We are also running a series Inspirational Women from January 2021 to March 31,2021, featuring around 1000 stories about Indian Women, who changed the world. #choosetochallenge

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