Dispensation Of Justice Or Upholding The Rule Of Law

Dispensation Of Justice Or Upholding The Rule Of Law 

Can we distinguish between justice and the term ‘upholding the rule of law’. By upholding the rule of law can we do justice ? Or both are always at the cost of each other? Justice means constant and perpetual disposition to render every man the exact measure of his dues, placing all men on an equality, which govern the distribution of rewards and punishments. It does not consider all men as equally deserving or equally blameworthy, but discriminates between them, observing a just proportion and comparison.

Upholding the rule of law on the other hand has a strict and narrow meaning. Law means law of the land, laws enacted by the legislature or legislation subordinate thereto, to be implemented word by word in its true spirit and the gaps left are to be filled in from the precedent law. It is also a fact that law is what has been recognized by the legislature to be a law.

It can be said that without upholding the rule of law justice cannot be done. However, other factors may contribute to dispensation of justice, such as equity and customs etc. It is equally important that the term justice is not altered having regard to the territorial limits of the States. By upholding the rule of law consequences can change from one state to another. For example sale of liquor is prohibited within the territorial limits of Pakistan but at the same time in Canada, there is no such prohibition. Thus upholding the rule of law in Pakistan means prohibition of liquor, whereas, in Canada it is otherwise. Therefore, the terms ‘dispensation of justice’ and ‘upholding the rule of law’ are distinguishable.

Upholding the rule of law always supplements the dispensation of justice. It never comes in the way or hinders the dispensation of justice. Legislation is a lengthy process. Need of the time necessitates enactment of laws by the legislature. It cannot be said that by upholding the law, justice is denied or justice is done in disregard to the laws.

For the sake of argument if it is accepted that in dispensation of justice sometimes the law is kept aside, is a correct practice, then there is no parameter that at the moment of deciding a matter, the mind of an adjudicating authority would be similar to that of the appellate authority. Thus any conflict in the mind-set can render the judgment void. There is also no mechanism to devolve a particular mind-set to the next generation. Therefore, the judicial system will totally be dependent upon the variable personal feelings of the adjudicating authority. At the same time laws vest rights and impose duties on individuals and thus departure from the law and going on the whims of a person thinking himself to be correct can definitely infringe the rights and obligations of parties to a dispute.

Therefore, ‘dispensation of justice’ and ‘upholding the law’ are never at the cost of each other. Upholding the rule of law is an integral component of dispensation of justice and cannot be separated. Upholding the rule of law in itself is dispensation of justice.


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of CourtingTheLaw.com or any organization with which he might be associated.

Luqman Khan

Author: Luqman Khan

The writer has done his LLB Degree from the Islamia University of Bahawalpur.