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TOPIC……….. THE RULE OF LAW
The term rule of law means supremacy of the law or obedience to the law of a state. Therefore government should rule according to the law of the state. The law rules and nothing else.
Supremacy of law:- The idea is based on the premise that the law of a state is supreme meaning that no one is above the law. With this in mind there will be no arbitrary government.
Notion of law and order:- This implies the maintenance of law and order in a state without which life will be solitary, poor and short. Life of citizens in a state will not be secured where there is breakdown of law and order.
Equality before the law:- This idea means that all citizens are equal before the law. One and the same law applies to all men no matter their status or rank in the society. The same law applies to the rich and poor.
Notion of liberty:- The rights of the citizens are defined by the constitution with the application of the rule of law. The government have no right to take away individual personal rights. An accused person is pronounced innocent until the court finds him/her guilty of a particular offense.
Notion of separation of power :- It also implies that power of the three arms of government, that is, the legislature, the executive and the judiciary should not be concentrated in the hand of the same person. This is to prevent oppression and tyranny by the influential members of the society as well as those on the corridor of power. If this is done, the liberty of the citizens will be preserved.
PROCESS OF THE RULE OF LAW
The following steps will help promoting the effective operation of the rule of law in a state.
- The Constitution:- Where there is no law there is no sin,therefore the constitution of the state will help to establish and sustain the rule of law. There must also be the willingness of citizens and government to follow the dictates of the law.
- Independence of the Judiciary:- There must be law courts given the responsibility of settling disputes between groups and individuals in a state.Such law court should be free from control by other organs of government (the legislature and the executive). This is to ensure proper dispensation of justice.
- Right of the accused person:- An accused person should be able to defend himself in a court of law or be allowed to take legal counsel in order to preserve the rights and liberties of the person.
- Legislature duties:- Laws made by the state should be made by representatives of the people elected for such purpose through popular mandate and not imposed by selfish few. Such laws should be subject to review by the judiciary.
- Press freedom:- There should be the existence of a vibrant and fearless press to act as the watchdog of government to check abuse of the rule of law by any citizen.
- Check on abuse of power:- The judiciary as the judicial umpire should be able to check abuse of powers by the organs of government to prevent the liberty of the citizens and prevent maladministration.
- Law publicity:– When laws are made, it should be made public for everyone to see so that such law would not be breached by reason of ignorance of the people.