Rule of law is a fundamental requirement of any civilised society and dignified life. Equality before law enshrined in Article 14 of Indian Constitution is the bedrock of rule of law in the country. But often we hear the arbitrary use of rules, regulations by the ‘state’. This arbitrariness shakes the very foundation of rule of law. Article 14 states that ‘the state shall not deny to any person equality before law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India’. All of us know that Article 14 is subject to the other provisions of the Constitution. However, any exemption of it has to pass the judicial scrutiny. But judicial process is a long drawn process and can not be expected by the common people.

The state can not be given the undefined powers to charge the dissenting people with the stringent law, like, National Security Act(NSA) for mere protesting against the policies of the government. NSA is primarily meant for the offences like, war against the nation. There are other provisions for such actions to maintain peace, law and order. The authority can not be given free hand to use the strictest laws for normal disobedience. Neither courts can be given the discretionary powers to give bail or not in such matters. The discretionary power of courts to bail should almost in all the cases be abolished. Otherwise, often the ruling side in connivance of the judiciary misuses this discretion. This situation is the total collapse of rule of law.

Equality before law is a positive concept. The source of it lies in the American and the Irish Constitutions. The Sapru Report(1945) incorporating the proposals of the Sapru Committee, while laying emphasis on “minorities” did enunciate the fundamental rights and in page 260 of the report, described the fundamental rights of the proposed new Constitution as a standing warning to all which is more relevant today than before:

“that what the Constitution demands and expects is perfect equality between one section of the community and another in the matter of political and civic rights, equality of liberty and security in the enjoyment of the freedom of religion, worship, and the pursuit of the ordinary applications of life.”

The rule of law is not only to protect the rights, dignity, liberty of only the minorities but to each one of us who want to live with dignity, prosper ourselves, and to see our beautiful nation to develop in all leaps and bounds.

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