CONSTITUTION: WHY & HOW – by Shubhangi Singh @lexcliq


Constitution is a body of fundamental principles or rules according to which a state is constituted or governed

  • The first function of a Constitution is to provide a set of basic rules that allow for minimal coordination amongst the members of the society. In the absence of basic rules people would feel insecure about their safety and it would also help people to achieve some degree of coordination. But, mere presence of these rules is not enough, these rules must also be in enforeseable. If citizens have no assurance that other members will also follow these rules, they will not follow these rules.
  • Constitution specify who has the power to make decisions in the society and how the government will be constituted. Specifies the basic allocation of power in a society and also decides what the laws of the nation would be. Democratic constitutions, the citizens of the country decide what the laws would be. For instance India, Parliament decides laws and policies on the behalf of the citizens of the country. This authority of Parliament comes through the Constitution only.
  • The third function of the Constitution is to set limits on what governments can impose on the citizens. The Part III of Indian Constitution states fundamental rights. These rights restrain governments from imposing such laws that undermine the power of the citizens. These rights can never be violated by the government except during emergency and when Constitution specifies the circumstances under which these rights may be withdrawn.
  • Constitution enable the government to fulfil the aspirations of the citizens and to create conditions for a just society. The societies which have the history of deep inequalities of various kinds, will have to set limits on the power of the government and at the same time have to enable the government to take positive measures to overcome the forms of deprivation. For instance, India aspires to be a society that is free from caste-based discrimination. In order to fulfil this aspiration, the government will have to be enabled to take all the necessary steps to achieve this goal. 


  • A successful Constitution gives everyone in the society some reason to follow the provisions of the Constitution. For example, if a constitution permitted majority to suppress minority community within a society, the Constitution here gave no reason to the minorities to follow the Constitution.
  • Constitution gives the people a framework for pursuing basic justice as no Constitution by it self achieves perfect justice
  • A successful Constitution is the one which helps people of the country to preserve their freedom and promote equality between the people of different sects.
  • The Constitution is never undermined by the people of the country, but by small groups who wish to increase their own power. A well-designed Constitution is the one which distributes the power in such a way that no single group can subvert the Constitution. One way of achieving this design is to ensure that no single institution of the government acquires monopoly of the power. For instance, the Indian Constitution has horizontally divided the power across legislature, executive and judicial body and it also provides for independent bodies like election commission. These three institutions check and balance each other’s power.
  • The Constitution must have balance and flexibility. A Constitution which is too rigid is likely to break with the changing times and situation. Whereas the Constitution that is too flexible will give no security to the people and would allow the government institutions to undermine the Constitution. Therefore it becomes important for a Constitution to strike right balance I mean preserving the core values and adapting the new circumstances.


Most modern constitutions create a form of government that is democratic and protects certain basic rights of the citizens of that country. In many countries Constitution remain defunct mainly because they are crafted by the military leaders or leaders who are not popular and do not have the ability to carry the people of the country with them most successful constitutions or that of India, South Africa and United States maybe because they were created after the popular national movement.

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