Are qualified immunity doctrines compatible with "rule of law" -- the notion of the law giving equal rights and obligations to citizens? Can things like death penalty or immunity from prosecution be justified under rule of law?

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    Could you location tag this? Is this limited to the US since you mention Qualified Immunity? Feb 17, 2023 at 19:09
  • This sounds like a question of political theory beyond the scope of Law.SE.
    – ohwilleke
    Feb 17, 2023 at 22:40
  • Also these principles vary from country to country.
    – ohwilleke
    Feb 17, 2023 at 22:51
  • @IllusiveBrian USA and India , both countries where I'm from. though Indian law to a larger extent
    – user49663
    Feb 18, 2023 at 1:11

1 Answer 1


"Rule of law" is one thing, "giving equal rights and obligations to citizens" is another. Qualified immunity, both in doctrinal and statutory form, are statements of law, e.g. saying that a police officer has the power to use force in a manner that others may not. "Equal rights and obligations" are actually "equal, as defined in the law", for example a 6 year old has no obligation to comply with contract that that may have formed – there is an exception to the otherwise general rule, which is recognized by the law.

  • my country's constitution has this provision > the state shal not deny to any person equality before the law or equal protection of law. the precedent on this seems inconsistent. what exactly does equality before law and equal protection of law mean ?
    – user49663
    Feb 17, 2023 at 16:41
  • But obviously you cannot vote in the Lok Sabha, so you are not absolutely equal. Equality is "excepting to all other superior provisions of law". Since you're dealing with common law, the meaning of law is substantially shrouded by past understandings of what the law says. It basically means "apply the law to everyone without regard for extra-legal considerations". There can be a special law governing Hindu marriages that does not apply to Muslims, but Hindu marriage law does not countenance different treatment for Vaishnavites vs. Shaivites.
    – user6726
    Feb 17, 2023 at 17:02
  • does this mean that article 14 allows for passing of laws against various groups. or laws favouring or disfavourong certain groups
    – user49663
    Feb 18, 2023 at 0:10
  • Actually, yes, if the classification is based upon intelligible differentia that distinguishes persons or things that are grouped from others that are left out of the group, and the differential has a rational relation with the objective of the act. Such laws would have to be justified in terms of the purpose of the law. Difference in purpose are what allows Muslim vs Hindu marriage acts, without further subdividing Hindus. This is similar to the concept of "strict scrutiny" in US law.
    – user6726
    Feb 18, 2023 at 0:55

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