Saturday, 15 April 2017

Rule of the Law

The rule of law is the legal principle that law should govern a nation, as opposed to being governed by arbitrary decisions of individual government officials.

Definition of the 'rule of law' comprises the following four principles:

  1. The government and its officials and agents as well as individuals and private entities are accountable under the law.
  2. The laws are clear, publicized, stable, and just; are applied evenly; and protect fundamental rights, including the security of persons and property and certain core human rights.
  3. The process by which the laws are enacted, administered, and enforced is accessible, fair, and efficient.
  4. Justice is delivered timely by competent, ethical, and independent representatives and neutrals who are of sufficient number, have adequate resources, and reflect the makeup of the communities they serve.

Factors of the rule of the law index:

  1. Constraints on Governments Powers is the extent to which those who govern are bound by the (a) fundamental law, (b) limited by the legislature, judiciary and audit, (c) sanction for misconduct and (d) transition of power is subject to the law 
  2. Absence of Corruption in government agencies i.e. legislature, executive, judiciary, military & police. Bribery, improper influence by public or private interests, and misappropriation of public funds or other resources.
  3. Open Government is that (a) shares information, (b) empowers people to hold the government accountable, (c) fosters citizen participation in public policy deliberations. Publicizing of basic laws & legal rights, information properly published by the government, requests for information are properly granted, effective civic participation mechanisms and bringing specific complaints to the government 
  4. Fundamental Rights protects human rights. It is a system of positive law and is at best “rule by law”. It encompasses adherence to (a) enforcement of laws that ensure equal protection (b) right to life and security of the person (c) due process of law and the rights of the accused (d), freedom of opinion and expression (e) freedom of belief and religion (f) the right to privacy (g) freedom of assembly and association (h) fundamental labor rights of collective bargaining, prohibition of forced & child labor and elimination of discrimination.
  5. Order and Security is how well the society assures the security of persons and property. Security is one of the defining aspects of any rule of law of society that is a fundamental function of the state. It is also a precondition for the realization of the rights and freedoms that the rule of law seeks. This includes various threats i.e. crime, political violence, and violence to redress personal grievances.
  6. Regulatory Enforcement is the extent to which regulations are fairly and effectively implemented and enforced. Strong rule of law requires that these regulations and administrative provisions are enforced effectively, are applied and enforced without improper influence by public officials or private interests, administrative proceedings are conducted timely, without delays, due process is respected in administrative proceedings, and that there is no expropriation of private property without adequate compensation. This does not assess what government chooses to regulate and to what extent but examines how regulations are implemented and enforced. To regulate such as public health, workplace safety, environmental protection and commercial activity.
  7. Civil Justice measures whether ordinary people can resolve their grievances peacefully and effectively through the civil justice system. The civil justice system should be accessible and affordable, free of discrimination, free of corruption, and without improper influence by public officials.  This also necessitates that court proceedings are conducted in a timely manner and not subject to delays. Recognizing the value of Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanisms, this also measures the accessibility, impartiality, and efficiency of mediation and arbitration systems that enable parties to resolve civil disputes. 
  8. Criminal Justice is a key aspect of the rule of law, constituting mechanism to redress grievances and bring action against individuals for offenses against society. Criminal justice systems are capable of investigating and adjudicating criminal offenses successfully and in a timely manner, through a system that is impartial and non-discriminatory, and is free of corruption and improper government influence, all while ensuring that the rights of both victims and the accused are effectively protected.  The delivery of effective criminal justice also necessitates correctional systems that effectively reduce criminal behavior. The delivery of criminal justice should take into consideration the entire system including the police, lawyers, prosecutors, judges, and prison officers. 
      Informal Justice concerns the role played by customary and ‘informal’ systems of justice including traditional, tribal, and religious courts, and community-based systems in resolving disputes. These complex systems often play a large role in cultures in which formal legal institutions fail to provide effective remedies for large segments of the population, or when formal institutions are perceived as remote, corrupt, or ineffective. The dispute resolution systems are timely and effective, they are impartial and free of improper influence, and these systems respect and protect fundamental rights. 

      Seven deadly sins are:
      Wealth without work, Pleasure without conscience,
      Science without humanity, Knowledge without character,
      Politics without principle, Commerce without morality,
      Worship without sacrifice. 
      – Mahatma Gandhi

      My View:
      In every aspect of 'rule of law', our country India stands abysmal. With information, awareness, transparency and education it is improving rather slowly. The irony is that while people at low end are uneducated, unskilled, poor but are good; people at high end are educated, skilled, rich but are bad. It is a catch 22 situation; unless politics change - people won't change and unless people change - politics wont change. In past 70 years after independence there is significant improvement but far less compared many advanced countries.

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