In his book ‘The Law of the Constitution’ (1881), Dicey sets out the basics of the rule of law as a concept.  In broad terms, the rule of law implies that no man is above the law of the land, irrespective of status or function.  Not only all citizens, including those who make the laws, have to be subject to the same laws, as John Locke puts it, ‘promulgated established laws, not to be varied in particular cases’, but these laws, even when promulgated by established democratic procedures, need to conform to certain standards of justice.  Applying unjust laws, albeit to all on the same Land, is certainly as much a violation of the rule of law as varying laws to suit the purpose of individuals in power.  By subjecting those who are governed and those who govern to the same set of rules, the rule of law purports to be a safeguard against arbitrary power. But beyond that, the rule of law is a guarantee of equal citizenship. In fact, the pillars that sustain democracy and promote a society grounded on fairness and equality find their source in the rule of law.  More often than not, democracy and rule of law, are linked with the Western civilization.  Most of the well-known philosophers who have expounded legal theories hail from the West.  A glimpse into the philosophy of the East shows that the rule of law is a concept that has been well entrenched in the earliest of its civilizations.
The rule of law is not a new concept, though it’s only in the 19th century that it’s been elaborated by Dicey.  The rule of law can be traced in the Dravidian civilization, that counts numerous philosophical works, inter alia, the Thirukkural by Thiruvalluvar. The Dravidian civilization is a very ancient civilization, that can be traced back even much before the Ancient Greek civilization.  The Dravidian civilization is also associated with Lemuria, the lost continent, believed to be a highly developed civilization in the Pacific many thousand years ago, in Pre- History, which was destroyed by some unknown cataclysm that struck the Earth, maybe 11500 to 12000 years ago.  Recent archaeological evidence has shown that the Indus Valley civilization was basically a Dravidian one. It would appear that the lost civilization of Mohenjo- daro and Harappa, existing in the mountainous regions of the Indus River around 6000 BC, was a civilization of the Dravidian refugees of Lemuria. The existence of the Brahui tribe in Baluchistan, to the West of the Indus River, who speak a Dravidian language like South Indian Tamil, and the survival in the North- Western region of place- names like Nagara, Pattana, and Kotta, with good Dravidian etymologies, seem to support this assumption.
Valluvar’s Thirukkural, comprised of 1330 verses, goes beyond being merely a philosophical piece of work treating universal values; it also deals with legal and societal intricacies, those very elements that determine the foundation and evolution of countries into nations. An essential component of the rule of law is equal access to justice as a basis for equal citizenship.  Relevant here is verse 541 of the Thirukkural that states as follows:  “Search out, to no one favour shows, with heart that justice loves; Consult, then act; this is the rule that right approves.”  This verse reflects what in legal terms we refer to as procedural fairness, which lies at the heart of natural justice.  Procedural fairness is the manifestation of natural justice in a system that operates under the rule of law; it is the outcome of the moral dialogue between the citizen and the State, entailed by a government that functions under the rule of law.  These notions are today well present in the Constitutions of democratic States, including our own Mauritian Constitution that guarantees the right to a fair trial to all citizens.
In the same line, we may say that a democratic system is the natural by-product of the rule of law.  In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “Democracy, disciplined and enlightened, is the finest thing in the world.” In a democratic system of government, the Opposition’s role does not stop at being a mechanism of protection against dictatorship, but is above all a mechanism of constructive criticism aimed at improving the functioning of institutions.  Same is reflected in verse 448 of the Thirukkural which states the following:  “Without the critics to point out the faults, the king will perish without enemies.”  This is to say that even in so-called democracies, there may be a lack of respect for the rule of law, which inevitably inhibits the implementation of the best policies. Whenever the rule of law is not upheld, be it in a democracy or for that matter any other system of government, there is bound to be abuse of power, manifesting in the form of corrupt practices, failing politics, inefficient administration, and a judiciary that is unable to fulfill its promise of independence and impartiality.  
There may be many interpretations given to the rule of law, some more restrictive, others more liberal.  However, the gist of the rule of law does not change.  The ultimate result that is sought to be achieved through the establishment of a government based on the rule of law is the common good for its citizens. This implicitly entails the inclusion of good governance as an essential component of the rule of law. Verse 545 of the Thirukkural says the following:  “Full rains and yields enrich the land which is ruled by a righteous hand.”  The Kural emphasizes that good governance has to be applied across board society, at all levels, from individual, to institutional and political, for a nation to prosper.
From Aristotle and Cicero to Valluvar, the concept of the rule of law that is advocated is the same.  From the West to the East, the basic principles do not differ, though the application may be different.  Across civilizations, laws are made to adapt to the times, but whatever be the times, the aim of having a system based on the rule of law remains the same- societal betterment.