MEANING AND ORIGIN
The rule of law is a product of century of struggle of the people for the recognition of their inherent rights. The concept of rule of law is of old origin and is an ancient ideal. It was discussed by ancient Greek philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle around 350 B.C. Plato wrote “where the law is subject to some authority and has none of its own. The collapse of the state in my view, is not so far off: but if law is the master of the government and the government is its slave, then the situation is full of promise and men enjoy all the blessings that the gods shower on a state. Likewise, Aristotle also endorsed the concept of rule of law by writing that “ law should be the final sovereign”.
The phrase RULE OF LAW is derived from the French phrase ‘ la principe de legalite’ which means ‘the principle of legality’ which refers to a government based on principles of law and not men. Rule of law is one of the basic principles of the English constitution and the doctrine is accepted in the constitution of USA and INDIA as well. The entire basis of administrative law is the doctrine of the rule of law.
ALBERT VEN DICEY
A British jurist and constitutional theorist, developed the concept of rule of law in his book. The law of the constitution (1885). The identifies three principles which together established the rule of law:
• No man is punishable except for a distinct breach of law: Established in an ordinary legal manner before ordinary courts. The government cannot punish any one merely by its own fiat. Persons in authority don not enjoy wide, arbitrary or discretionary powers. Dicey asserted that wherever there is discretion there is room for arbitrary.
• NO man is above the law: Every man whatever his rank or condition, is subject to the ordinary law and jurisdiction of the ordinary courts. No person should be made to suffer in body or deprived of his property except for a breach of law established in the ordinary legal manner before the ordinary courts of the land.
• The constitution is the result of the ordinary law of the land: It means that the source of the right of individuals is not the written constitution, but the rule as defined and enforced by the courts. The general principles of the British constitution and especially the individual’s liberty are judge i.e these are the result of judicial decisions determining the rights of private persons in particular cases brought before the courts from time to time
RULE OF LAW IN IDNIAN CONSTITUTION
The first and second aspects apply to Indian system but the third aspect of Dicey’s rule of law doesn’t apply to Indian system as the source of rights of individual is the constitution of India. The constitution is the supreme law of India and the laws as by the legislature must be consistent with the provisions of the constitution.