Concept Of Rule Of Law With Judicial Precedents


The basic purpose of the law is the quest for the Justice which should be administered without fear and favour. As George Gurvitch says, Justice is used in two senses- “faithful realization of the existing laws against any arbitrary infraction of it”, and search for “ideal element in all law,” that is the idea which the law tends to subseve.”[1] Law is inescapable and the antagonist that is the anarchist regards ‘Justice’ as mask to dominate the weak by the strong. Similarly, the communist considered law as a medium of domination of the proletariat by the bourgeoisie. But despite this view everybody concurs that the law is the fulfilment of the legitimate expectation of an individual and it protects the individual against the violation of his rights.[2]


The clearest way to show what Rule of law means to us in everybody life is recall what has happened when there is no ‘Rule of law’,”- Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Read – Rule Of Law Embedded In United Nations

Law is both inseparable and indispensible for justice. Justice is comprehensive terminology and should be ensured by the judiciary which is mainly responsible for the administration of justice in all political fields. In determining the nation’s rank in political civilization” Henry Sidgwick says, “no test is more decisive than the degree in which the justice as defined by the law actually realised in its judicial administration both as between one private citizen and another as between the private citizens and members of the government.[3] The term Justice functions as the balancing wheel[4] of the constitution and in this act it favours and curtails his right when there is definite and ultimate crisis. So Judiciary establishes Rule of law purposefully to protect the weak, helpless, the indigent and the oppressed. On the other hand ‘Rule of law’ requires that people should be governed by accepted rules, rather than the arbitrary decisions of the rulers. The rule of law embodies the principle of the ‘supremacy of the Law’. It is basic necessity for a disciplined and civilized society. If a government acts according to the principles of Rule of Law then individual liberty and rights can be protected in the better way.[5] There is no doubt that the ‘Rule of law’ pervades the constitution as an underlying principle. In fact, Supreme Court has declared the “Rule of Law” to be one of the ‘basic features’ of the constitution[6], so this principle cannot be taken away by a constitutional amendment. Thus drawing the line of relationship between the ‘Justice’ and ‘Rule of Law’, Jawaharlal Nehru says that “Rule of law seems to be synonyms with the maintenance of civilized existence. And if there is to be rule of law, there should be independent Judges to administer the law.[7]


In India, the meaning of the “Rule of Law” has been much expanded. It is regarded as the part of the basic structure of the constitution and therefore it cannot be abrogated or destroyed even by the Parliament[8]. In our Constitutional system, the central and the most characteristic feature is the “Rule of law” which means, in the present context, the authority of law courts to test all administrative actions by standard of legality.[9] The administrative or execution action that does not meet the standards of “Rule of Law” will be set aside if the aggrieved person brings the appropriate action in the competent court.[10]

In the case of Binani Zinc Limited v.Kerala State electricity Board and others[11] Justice S.B Sinha declare that “ it is now well settled principle of law that the rule of law inter alia postulates that all laws would be prospective subject of course of enactment an express provision or intendment. In the case of Gadakh Yashwantrao Kankarrao v. Balasaheb Vikhe Patil[12] the ratio laid down was “If Rule of law has to be preserved as the essence of democracy of which purity of elections is a necessary concomitant, it is the duty of the courts to appreciate the evidences and construe the law in a manner which would sub serve this higher purpose and not even imperceptibly facilitate acceptance of the falling of electoral standards. For democracy to survive, Rule of law must prevail and it is necessary that the best available men should be chosen as people’s representative for proper governance of the country. In the case of Amlan Jyoti Borooah Vs.State of Assam[13], it was held that: “Equity must not be equated with compassion. Equitable principles must emanate from facts which by themselves are unusual and peculiar. A balance has to be struck and the Court must be cautious to ensure that its endeavour to do equity does not amount to judicial benevolence or acquiescence of established violation of fundamental rights and the principles of Rule of law.” In the case of Bachan Singh v. State of Punjab[14] Justice Bhagwati has emphasized that rule of law excludes arbitrariness and unreasonableness. In the modern era the discretionary powers is provided to the authorities for running the society but some time these power are misused by the authorities which effects and destroys the basic principles of the unfettered, and that there should be an independent judiciary to protect the citizens against the excesses of executive and legislative power[15].

Read – Fundamental Rights – Meaning And Concept


“In a Pluralist Society, Judiciary act as the essential equalisers. They serve no majority or any minority either. The duty of the Judiciary is to preserve the Law and Justice. They do not bend the knee to the governments, to particular religions, to the military, to money, to tabloid media, or the screaming mob. In upholding law and justice, Judiciary have a vital function in pluralist society to make sure that the diversity, is respected and rights of all are protected.”[16]

[1] 8 Justice George Gurvitch, Encyclopaedia of the social sciences 41(Macmillan Company 1932).

[2] Todd J. Zywicki, The Rule of Law, Freedom and Prosperity, 10 Supreme Court Economic Review 1,4 (2003).

[3] Henry Sidgwick, Elements of Politics 41 (1919).

[4] K.S. Hegde, Crisis in Indian Judiciary 21 (1973).

[5] (June 20 2018, 10:00 AM),

[6] Indira Nehru Gandhi v Raj Narain, AIR 1975 SC 2295; SP Gupta v Union of India, AIR 1982 SC 149 (India).

[7] Jawaharlal Nehru, Speeches (1964) p.426.

[8] Keshavanand Bharti v. Union of India, AIR 1973 SC 1419 (India).

[9] A.K. Gopalan v. State of Madras, AIR 1950 SC 27 (India).

[10] Chief settlement Commissioner, Punjab v. Om Prakash, AIR 1969 SC 33 (India).

[11] Binani Zinc Limited v.Kerala State electricity Board and others, 2009 ELR APTEL 868 (India).

[12] Gadakh Yashwantrao Kankarrao v. Balasaheb Vikhe Patil, 1994 SCC (1) 682 (India).

[13] Amlan Jyoti Borooah Vs.State of Assam, 2009 (3) SCC 227 (India).

[14] Bachan Singh v. State of Punjab, AIR 1980 SC 898 (India).

[15] P. Sambamurthy v. State of Andhra Pradesh, 1987 SCR (1) 879 (India).

[16] Justice Michael Kirby & Poornima Advani, All India Meeting of Chief-Justices of High Courts on Women Empowerment vis-d-uis Legislation and Judicial Decision, 2005 (June 14, 2018, 21:45 PM)

Pranav Kaushal

Pranav Kumar Kaushal, Content Writter, Law Corner, Student B.A., LLB 7th Semester, School of Law, Bahra University, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh.

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