Meaning and Principles of Rule of Law
Rule of Law is the supremacy of law over and above the rulers and the ruled in a state. It is the supremacy of the law as administered by the ordinary court against all arbitrariness in a state.
This political theory was first propounded by Professor A.V. Dicey, in the year 1885, in his book titled “Introduction to the Law of the Constitution“.
It can be simply be defined as a Fundamental principle that emphasizes the supremacy of law, equality before the law, and protection of fundamental human rights.
Principles of Rule of Law:
Among the principles of Rule of Law, three are basic or very essential.
(i) Supremacy of Law: This implies that things must be done according to the law. The Law must guide the conduct of the rulers and the ruled.
(ii) Equality before the Law: The citizens shall be subjected to the same set of laws irrespective of the person’s status, sex, position, wealth, religion, etc. The law is no respecter for persons.
(iii) Guarantee of Fundamental Human Rights: Citizens of a country shall enjoy their fundamental rights and freedom only subject to the laws of the state.
Other Principles of Rule of Law Include:
(iv) Right to Fair Hearing: An accused person shall be heard before judgement is given.
(v) Back-dating of law shall be prohibited. Back-dating is the practice of marking a legally binding document, with a date that is prior to what it should be.
(vi) Accused persons or individuals shall be given an opportunity to appeal against an unsatisfactory judgement.
(vii) Public trial of an accused person must be upheld.
(viii) An accused person shall not be denied access to the services of his lawyer.
(ix) Principle of impartiality. All must adhere to the same law.