What is Magna Carta?

Magna Carta, which means ‘The Great Charter’, is one of the most important documents in history as it established the principle that everyone is subject to the law, even the king, and guarantees the rights of individuals, the right to justice and the right to a fair trial.In 1215 King John agreed to the terms of the Magna Carta following the uprising of a group of rebel barons in England.Magna Carta was created as a peace treaty between the king and the rebels.

Magna Carta, among other things, gives all English subjects the right to justice and a fair trial. It says:

“No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgement of his equals or by the law of the land.”

Why is it significant today?

The Magna Carta is considered one of the first steps taken in England towards establishing parliamentary democracy.

What wider role has it played?

There are strong influences from the Magna Carta in the American Bill of Rights, written in 1791. Indian Constitution has Fundamental Rights that were inspired by American Bill of Rights.

Even more recently, the basic principles of the Magna Carta are seen very clearly in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.

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