“The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India”.
Dr. Jennings , “Equality before law means that among equals the law should be equal andshould be equally administered, that like should be treated alike..”
According to Professor Dicey -Rule of law means First- Absence of arbitrary power or supremacy of Law Second- Equality before law
Third- The Constitution is the result of the ordinary law of land
Equal protection of the laws-USA, -Like should be treated alike and not that unlike should be treated alike.
Originator of the rule of law was Sir Edward Coke. Dicey developed the theory of Coke in his classic work ‘The Law and the Constitution’ published in the year 1885. According to Dicey there are three meaning of the said doctrine.
- Absence of arbitrary power (2) Equality before law (3) The Constitution is the result of the ordinary law of the land
Dicey, “Every official from the Prime Minister down to constable or a Collector of taxes is underthe same responsibility for every act done without legal justification as any other citizen.”
Dr.Jenning, “ Equality before the law means that among the equals the law should be equal andshould be equally administered , and that like should be treated alike..”
V.N.Shukla , “Like should be treated alike and not that unlike should be treated alike.” Preamble –Equality of Status and Opportunity
Article 14- The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law and equal protection of laws within the territory of India.
The guarantee of equality before the law is an aspect of what Dicey calls the ‘Rule of Law’ in England.
West Bengal v. Anwar Ali Sarkar- This Article combines the English doctrine of the rule oflaw and the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the American Constitution.
Indira Nehru Gandhi vs. Raj Narayan, 1975 – Rule of law embodied in Article 14 is basicstructure of the Constitution.
The two great values which emanate from the concept of Rule of law in modern times are – (1) No arbitrary Government (2) and upholding individual liberty.
The rule of law postulates the pervasiveness of the spirit of law throughout the whole range of government in the sense of excluding arbitrary official action in any sphere.’Rule of law’ is an expression to giver reality to something which is not readily expressible. That is why Sir Ivor Jennings said that it is an unruly horse. Rule of law is based upon the liberty of the individualand has as its object, the harmonizing of the opposing notions of individual liberty and public order. The notion of justice maintains the balance between the two; and justice has a variable content.
E. P. Royappa vs State Of Tamil Nadu & Anr on 23 November, 1973 Bhagwati,
P.N., quality is a dynamic concept with many aspects and dimensions and it cannot be “cribbedcabined and confined” within traditional and doctrinaire limits. From a positivistic point of view, equality is antithetic to arbitrariness. In fact equality and arbitrariness are sworn enemies; one belongs to the rule of law in a republic while the other, to the whim and caprice of an absolute monarch. Where an act is arbitrary it is implicit in it that it is unequal both according to political logic and constitutional law and is therefore violative of Article 14.
Additional District Magistrate, vs. S. S. Shukla Etc. Etc on 28 April, 1976 Justice Khanna, Rule of law is true antithesis of arbitrariness. The rule of law has come to beregarded as the mark of a free society. It is, however, identified with the liberty of ‘he individual. It seeks to maintain a balance between the opposing notions of individual liberty and Public order.
A significant derivative from ‘Rule of Law’ is Judicial Review. Judicial Review is an essential part of rule of law. It involves not only the constitutionality of the rule of law but also of the validity of administrative actions.
Minerva Mills Ltd. & Ors vs. Union Of India & Ors on 31 July, 1980
The power of the judicial review is an integral part of our constitutional system and without it, there will be no Government of Laws and the rule of law would become a teasing illusion and a promise of unreality. If there is one feature of our Constitution which, more than any other, isbasic and fundamental to the maintenance of democracy and the rule of law, it is the power of judicial review and it is unquestionably a part of the basic structure of the Constitution.
Exceptions- (1) Article 31C Sanjeev Coke Mfg. Co. vs. Bharat Cooking Coal Ltd. S.C. , “Where Article 31-C comes in , Article 14 goes out.(2) Art. 359 (1) (3) 361 (4) Art.51 r/w 253.
Test of reasonable classification- Classification to be reasonable must fulfil two conditions-First-Intelligible differentia .Second- Rational Relation.
(1) Chiranji Lal vs. Union of India, 1961-
Single individual may constitute a class.
(2) Kesawananda Bharati vs. State of Kerala 1973–
Rule of Law is basic structure of the Constitution 3) E.P. Royappa vs. State of Tamil Nadu , 1974,
New dimension of equality and arbitrariness is anti-thesis of equality.
(4) Maneka Gandhi vs. Union of India 1978–
Equality is dynamic concept with many aspects and dimensions and it cannot be imprisoned within traditional and doctrinaire limits.
The Court held that the termination of service on pregnancy was manifestly unreasonable and arbitrary and was therefore violative of Article 14.
(6) Mithu vs. State of Punjab, 1983,
Section 303 of IPC is unconstitutional because it makes mandatory death penalty.
(7) John Vollamattom vs. Union of India, 2003–
Section 118 of Indian Succession Act, 1925 violates Article 14.
(8) National Legal Services Authority vs. Union of India, 2014-
Hijras and Transgender are the persons under Article 14, so entitled to legal protection.
(9) Navjyiti Co-op. Group Housing Society v. Union of India, 1993,Doctrine of Substantive Legitimate Expectation has been accepted.
(10) Central Inland Water Transport Corporations vs. Brojo Nath, 1986-
Rule of Natural Justice implicit in Article 14.
(11) Lucknow Development Authority vs. M.K.Gupta,1994,
In case of arbitrary action, State is liable to pay compensation to a citizen.
- Article 361.
- Sanjeev Coke Mfg. Co. Bharat Cooking Coal Ltd., 1983-Where Article 31-C comes in Article 14 goes out.
- Article 359- President may suspend all FRs except Article 20&21 during proclamation of emergency.
- Foreign Sovereign and Ambassador (Art.51and 253).We are bound to foster international law.