First and foremost, rule of law is one of the branch of Constitutionalism. Rule of law encompasses the basic principles of equal treatment of all people before the law which actually guarantees basic human rights. The rule of law implies that not only to the supremacy of law but including all laws, that it must be conform to certain minimum of standards for instance protection of civil liberties. Professor A.V Dicey developed concept of rule of law that comprises three concepts of principles. Firstly, no one should be punished except for a conduct which represents a clear breach of law. Secondly, irrespective of ranks and status all are equal before the law.
Thirdly, rights and freedoms are best protected under Common Law rather than Bills of Rights. As a whole , rule of law is a principle that tells the citizen or the people that no one is above the law and everyone shall be treated equally among citizens and laws are made to public order in the society and to provide a harmony society for the people.In Malaysia, the FC embodies the application of rule of law and the principles of rule of law by A.
V Dicey. Art 4 of FC is the basis of Malaysian rule of law where the purpose of the constitution is to establish rule of law. The second principle laid down by A.V Dicey which was equality before the law irrespective of ranks and status. This principle states that all the people irrespective of their ranks and status in the society, all are bound by law and are equal before the law. The law here refers to the law that was administered by the ordinary law courts.
This principle includes the government and the government must give their respect to the law. In simplest words, no one is above the law including the government. Everyone must be governed by law and all people is subjected to be equal before the law. For this, Art 8 of FC governs the rights to equality. Art 8(1) of FC states that all persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law.
Art 8 can be recognized in the case of Public Prosecutor v Tengku Mahmood Iskandar. In this case, the High Court, having regard to the merit of the offence committed, replace a more severe sentence for a lesser one which was imposed by a lower court. The status of the accused as a ruling Prince of the Johor state had been taken into the account when deciding for the sentence. The High Court stated that the decision of the lower court in giving a lesser sentence to the Prince which was the accused is contrary with the provisions of Art 8 of FC which says that all persons are equal before the law.
This implies that there is only one kind of law in the country to which all citizens are subjected to or bound to. Every citizen, despite of social status and ranks, everyone is subjected to the same responsibility for every act done without legal justification.