a) ‘Rule of law’ is a fundamental requirement for a democratic polity?
Rule of law is an Aristotelian concept which implies that the law of the land is supreme. Every position of influence – be it the elected representatives or the President has to abide by the law of the land. It provides for the limitations of power.
Rule of law has many advantages –
1. It curbs discretion and arbitrary use of power
2. It ensures the separation of the executive and the law-making bodies. This further ensures that laws made are unbiased.
3. If the laws are just, then Rule of Law implies that the law has uniform applicability. Hence, it leaves no scope for discrimination.
4.Absence of corruption, open government, fundamental rights, order and security, regulatory enforcement, civil justice, and criminal justice
5. Further, it is conducive to businesses and investments.
Democracy is a system where the ones being governed have a say in who governs them and how they are governed. It is designed to keep in mind the best interest of the masses.
Rule of law is indeed a fundamental requirement for a democratic polity. Without rule of law, the most natural rights of the masses will be endangered.
At the same time, it should be noted that the rule of law might be a necessary condition but not a sufficient condition for a healthy democracy. Along with the Rule of Law, institutions that ensure proper enforcement of the law are also important. A merit-based bureaucracy, distance from religion are among other points.
b)What do you think of India’s performance on this parameter?
India’s case has been very unique. India, on paper, has the rule of law. The powers and responsibilities of major offices are defined. Proper punishments for malpractices have also been clearly listed.
Despite that, India’s performance wrt execution of laws remains flawed. The reasons are
2.Civil and criminal justice – access to justice, presence of alternate dispute resolution mechanisms, absence of government influence still remain an issue.
3.Corruption – India ranks low in the corruption index.
4. Order and Security – Law and order situation has been very poor.
Strengthening our institutions is the need of the hour. Without strong institutions, it will become very hard to uphold the rule of law.