The Magna Carla was a Charter of Rights granted to the Englishmen during 1215 AD by King John II. During the reign of King John II (1167-1216) the citizens of Britain were burdened with heavy taxes. As a treacherous and cruel king he curbed the privileges of nobles and clergymen. As a result the barons, clergy and the common people united and compelled King John to redress their grievances by signing the Great Charter known as the
Magna Carta. It was signed by King John II in June 1215 at Runnymede. The charter contained 63 clauses guaranteeing the freedom of the barons, the church and the commonman.
Under this charter the king himself was to act according to the law which curbed the king’s right to levy taxes arbitrarily. It ensured that the king would act with the sanction of the people’s representatives in the matters of administration be it the imposition of new taxes or punishing a wrong doer or imprisonment of any man. In other words, through this document the Law was made the highest authority in the land. The Magna Carta laid down the important principle that England should be governed by a definite law and not by the whims or will of a despotic ruler.