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Thirukkural-On Wealth-On Kingship-Kural 388

Muraiseydhu kaapaatrum mannavan makkatku

Irai enru vaikkappadum

The king who protects his people rendering justice,

according to the laws of the land,

Will be hailed as the divine Lord, by his subjects.

The operative phrase here is 'Murai Seythu' (Muraiceytu) which implies adherence to certain norms and standards, prescribed by the laws of the realm, which in India, of course, includes the law of laws (i.e.) the Constitution. Perhaps the word constitution alone will bring out the import of this phrase.

One is reminded in this context of Aristotle"s dictum, “Good Government is government by law" which is the basis of the concept of Rule of Law; Dicey elaborated it later, as governance of the country according to the laws of the land and not in accordance with the whims and fancies of any individual, group or even the government, however powerful they may be; (Muraiceytu) would also imply the proper observance of Rule of Law and due process.

A king"s administration, particularly his dispensation of justice, will have to be based on the approved norms and standards of the legal system of his country, and in keeping with the dictates of human rights and natural justice. Only such a king who abides by accepted norms in ensuring the protection and welfare of his people will be thought of as a godly ruler.

Manakudavar alone would interpret the other phrase 'Makkatku irai' as 'Manitarkku nayakan' which means as a great and just man among men, which interpretation is also equally acceptable.

According to Prof. Harold Laski the justice delivery system of a country is the yardstick on the basis of which the political civilization of a country may be really and truly assessed.

Story first published: Friday, May 7, 2010, 12:17 [IST]
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