The Rule Of Law: Meaning, Principles And Benefits (Human Right)

Table Of Contents

1. Meaning Of Law.
2. Meaning of Rule Of Law.
3. Principles Of The Rule Of Law.
4. The Benefits Of The Rule Of Law Against Arbitary Rule.
5. Punishment For Breaking The Law.
6. Equality Before The Law.

Meaning Of Law>

Law refers to a system of rules set out by society to regulate the conduct of people and control their behaviour. It is a body of rules, principles and accepted practices which ensures order and peaceful relationship or correct conduct of people in an institution or community. Therefore, to violate trhe law is to disrupt life and social harmony.

Meaning Of Rule Of Law:

According to Professor Dicey.( a constitutional Authority), the rule of law refers to a constitutional principle which advocates the supremacy or predominance of lae over persons.( the ruler and the ruled) and all actions and decisions taken in a country. This means that all persons high and low must be subject to the law. It also means that those in charge of the affairs of a country should exercise power and authority in accordance with the established law of the land.

The rule of law further implies that no one is above the law. It thereforr follows that government actions or decisions are arbitrary, if they do not follow the established laws of the lamd.

The doctrince of separation of powers which ensures that the powers of government are not concentrated in one single authority is rooted in the rule of law.

Principles Of The Rule Of Law

The rule of law is base on three principles;

i. Principle of impartiality
ii. Principle of equality
iii. The rights of the citizen.

1. Principle Of Impartiality:

This principle seeks to protect the liberty of the citizens. It advocates the supremacy of the law over arbitary influences or selective exercise of power.

It implies that the legal procedure. It means that a person can only be punished for an offence, when the law court finds him guilty and not when it pleases those in authority to do so. It alos means that can accused is deemed innocent of a crime, until proved guilty. The principle of impartiality demands that no ones should be arrested without being told his offence, no should be lawfully detained for long without being charged to court; and that a suspect is entitled to defend himself in a normal court and with the assistance of a lawyer.

2. Principle Of Equality:

According to Dicey, the principle of equality before the law means that all persons, no matter their rank or status are subject to the same law. This implies that no man is above the law and thre law is no respecter of persons. Private citizens, government officials, kings and traditional rulers, all must obey the same law. It demands that all citizens should have equal access to legal facilities, that there should be no special courts for special persons.

3. The Right Of The Citizen:

Rule of law seeks to preserve the right of man. This refers to the fundamental human rights already discussed in the JS book one. Some of the rights of the citizen are, freedom of speech, freedom of association, right to life and right to own or acquire property, right to self determination etc. They are the inalienable rights of man.

Every citizen should enjoy his basic rights and liberties under the law and of course, within the limits allowed by the law. A citizen has right to seek redress in a court of law if his fundamental right is infringed open or violated.

The Benefits Of The Rule Of Law As Against Arbitrary Rule

Arbitrary rule is rule based on personal whims or desires of the ruler. It is rule not based on sound principle or reason. It is usually dictatorial in nature.

1. Good Governance:

Rule of law ensures that those constructed with public affairs must adhere to the provisions of the law. This prevents reckless use of resources, mismanagement and embezzlement of public funds. It is a guarantee that public funds are utilized to provide services and development of the nation. It also guarantees that our rulers shall act within the law; instead of acting in a planless and unfair manner.

Rule of law ensures that those in authority do not act to satisfy their personal whims and caprices. This prevents arbitrary arrest of citizens for flimsy and concocted reasons; ensures due process in the affairs of the state and guarantees equal opportunities to citizens for flimsy and concocted reasons; ensures due process in the affairs of the state and guarantees equal opportunities to citizens.

2. Respect For Human Rights:

Rule of law protects the rights of man. Under the rule of laws, citizens enjoy their civic rights. An aggrieved citizen can seek redress ina court of law, if his right is infringed upon.

3. Equality Before The Law:

The rule of law guarantees equality of all citizens before the law. All citizens no matter how highly or lowly placed are equal before the law. No one should be denied access to justice because of his state of origin, religion or culture or sex.

4. Civil liberty:

Rule of law seeks to protect the liberty of man and prevents him from oppression by the rulers or private individuals. It insists that a man is innocent of a crime or offence until found guilty by the law court. Therefore it prevents the innocent from being punished for an offence he did not commit.

5. Promotes Development:

A society that upholds the rule of law develop rapidly because due process is followed: in the conduct of the government business. Due process prevents corruption and mismanagement of public funds. It therefore saves money which government use to enhance development of the society.

Punishment Of Breaking The Law

They are various offences which are punishable under the law. They include;

1. Armed Robbery, stealing, fraud, embezzlement, money laundering

2. Arson, public disorder, assault, murder, kidnapping.

3. Impersonation, libel, sedition, drug trafficking, human trafficking.

4. Plagiarism, examination malpractice, forgery, counterfeiting.

5. Treason:

A crime dis-stabilize or pull down, the government of the country.

The gravity of an offence determined the nature of punishment that goes with it.
Punishment for offences can be in the following form:

1. Fines And Reprimand: for offences which are not serious, offenders can be warned, reprimanded or fined.

2. Imprisonment:

Imprisonment is usually a punishment for very serious offences like stealing, robbery, assault, fraud, examination malpractices, human trafficking.

3. Seizure Of Properties Or Assets:

Certain offences like money laundering, drug trafficking and embezzlement of public funds attracts the seizure of forfeiture of assets or properties acquired from such transaction.

6. Capital Punishment:

Contains offences which involved life, like, murder arm robbery involving death and kidnapping usually attract capital punishment which is death sentence for the offender. Treason also attracts capital punishment.

Equality Before The Law

Equality before the law is the principle that all men are equal before the law. It implies that all men are subject to the same law within a society or country. It also mean that all citizens should have equal access to legal facilities.

However, they are certain expectation to the principle of equality; they are,

1. Foreign Ambassador And Foreign Embassy:

By international convention, ambassadors enjoy diplomatic immunity in their host countries. Such persons cannot be tried other the law of their hosts countries. If they commit offences in such countries. Also they cannot be arrested by the police orless their diplomatic immunity it waived or put aside.

2. Trade unions leaders are immune to prosecution or crime committed while promoting or fighting for workers’ welfare.

3. Police officers of special assignments enjoy some immunity provided that do not over step their authority. For instance, in a crisis situation, the police can kill in self-defence, but cannot be excuse for killing citizens or peaceful match or democration.

4. The president, the state Government; The Senate Presidents and The Speaker of the house of representative enjoys some immunities while in office hence, they cannot be tried for offensive while in office.

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