WHAT IS RULE OF LAW ?
The rule of law is one of the basic fundamental principles of every constitution of the nation of the world. It means absolute supremacy of the law over everyone. It also means those entrusted with the administration of a country should rule or exercise their authority in accordance with the established laws of the land and such established laws should be regarded as supreme.
Also, government should role according to the provision of the constitution and that the government should be subject to the law. Moreover, no citizen can be punished except as prescribed by law which means no one can be punished without trial. Furthermore, the rule of law mean equality before the law.
According to dicey’s view, ” all men are equal before the laws of the land” This means that no one is above the law and the law is not a respecter of a person.
In conclusion, the rule of law means that the constitution recognized the fundamental rights of the individual person. A man can be punished for breach of law, but can’t be punished for nothing else.
The doctrine of the rule of law
1. Absolute supremacy Or predominance of the law
2. Government should rule in accordance with the law of the land, not arbitrarily.
3. Laws should be made open and not kept in secrecy.
4. There should be no censorship of the press.
5. Laws should not be made to have retrospective effect or backdated.
It can be said that the rule of law stipulates that government be insulated and be limited in its power according to the law and that should be devoted to the preservation of the liberties of individuals citizens, all of whom are deemed equal before the law.
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principles of the rule of law.
1. supremacy of law:
This is the first meaning of the concept of rule of law I.e. law of state as administered by the ordinary courts is supreme. No other institution or even the legislators who contributed in making law can claim superiority over the law of the land. This concept of supremacy of the law can also be demonstrated in relation to the process of effecting change in the law.
Supremacy of law also stated that the government itself and its functionaries must recognized and obey the law of the state, hence constitutional supremacy aimed at achieving the following,
A. To curtail the actions of individuals whether they are rulers or the ruled.
B. To guard and protect individuals citizens by defining the limits of the power granted to these in authority.
2. Equality of citizens before the law:
According to Dicey’s view “everybody is equal to the law irrespective of their status or position in life.” As a result they should be given equal treatment before the court, until there is genuine reason to treat them differently. This implies that no one is above the law.
3. The liberty of the people:
This has to do with freedom and liberty of citizens as it is inherent in the individual with such limit as prescribed by the laws of the state and as accepted by the society. The rule of law emphasized citizen right of fair and equal hearing, right to private family life, right to freedom of movement, right to ownership of property etc.
4. Independence and impartiality of the law enforcing agents:
For the concept of rule of law to operate and function properly in any society, there is the need for law enforcing agent and institution to be independent, impartial and shun corruption in all its ramifications.
5. Legality and illegality in the administration of justice:
This principle contended that nobody must be punished except for an established breach of the law. Before an offender is punished the breach of the law must be properly established and certified by the appropriate and accredited legal authorities. As a result, an accused person is presumed innocent until his guilt his sufficient evidence against a suspect, he should not be legally arrested, detained and imprisoned. More suspicion is not enough to convict an accused.
Limitations to the rule of law
1. State of emergency: citizen fundamental human right can be curtailed in terms of a state of emergency which empowers government uncontrollable power indiscriminate arrest etc.
2. Partial judiciary: the rule of law is limited by a partial judiciary or lack of independence of judiciary.
3. The type of government: the type of government adopted such as military rule tend to be autocratic and dictatorial which is serious limitations to the application of rule of law.
4. Diplomatic immunity: Diplomat cannot be sued and prosecuted in the country where they are serving rather they can be repatriated which limits the application of rule of law.
5. Poverty, illiteracy and ignorance: this three word mentions do not allow citizen of a country to know and fight for their rights when infringed upon.