In this post, you will learn about the basics of the constitution. Despite having so many administrative laws, rules, regulations, and customs, why do we need the constitution? what makes the constitution so important and what is the constitution in the first place? you will learn all these in this post.
In India, we have –
- Administrative laws
- Statutory laws,
- Ordinances promulgated by the executives,
- Judicial decisions and verdicts passed by the Supreme Court,
- By-laws made by the Panchayati Raj Institutions and Urban Local Bodies.
- Rules, regulations, notifications by the Executives.
- Customs and traditions which are not legally binding but enjoy the force of law
But all these laws, regulations, customs shall conform to one supreme law of the land and all other laws derive power from this law directly or indirectly, and that law of the land is the Constitution.
The constitution is the supreme, basic, fundamental, organic law of the country. Before discussing what is the constitution it is necessary to understand –
why do we need the constitution?
Constitution Possess a Special Legal Sanctity
Gita is a holy document of Hindus, the Quran is a holy document for Muslims, and the Bible is a holy book of the Christian religion, similarly, the constitution is a sacred law of the land, it is the fundamental law of a nation-state.
The Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land
All other laws and customs of the country shall conform to the constitution. It is the supreme law of the land. All beliefs, practices, customs, rules should obey the constitution or fall in line with the constitution.
The Constitution is the Rule Book of the Nation
India is a diverse country. People with a distinct language, culture, religion, tradition reside in India. There can be instances of discrimination, insecurity, violence, and so on, but with all these indifferences people have to live together. There should be cooperation, coordination among these groups, and sections. This cooperation and coordination is provided by the constitution
The Constitution Specifies Who Has the Power
Indian Constitution is the supreme, basic, fundamental law of the land called India. It is an organic law which gave birth to the administrative system. The constitution is the one who has a say in what will be the relation between the various organs of the government. In general, the Government means 3 things the executive, the legislature, and the judiciary. We will learn about these institutions in the upcoming lessons. The constitution explains the nature of power-sharing between these organs of the government.
The Constitution decides who gets to decide what the laws will be, and who will implement those laws (NCERT). For example in India, generally,
- the Parliament makes and changes the laws
- the executive wings implement those laws.
- The judiciary makes sure that everything is carried out in accordance with the Constitution. Furthermore, The Supreme Court is the custodian of the Constitution in India.
Limitations on the Powers of Government
We learned in the French Revolution Lesson that one man with unlimited power can cause havoc in society.
Power corrupts… and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
It is a risky business when one man has all the power to decide the fate of billions. So the constitution limits this arbitrariness, unlimited and unrestricted power of the government. This practice is called constitutionalism. Constitution does this job by distributing power among various organs.
What is Constitutionalism?
Constitutionalism is rule of law, and rule of law denotes limited government. In medieval and ancient times, there was Rex Lex, King is Law but in modern history, almost all the nation-states are based on the philosophy of Lex-Rex i.e. Law is the King, we generally call it as a rule of law.
- Rex Lex = King is Law
- Lex Rex = Law is King
Constitutionalism establishes the government of law and not of men
The Constitution Safeguards Life and Personal Liberty
People are fallible, they make mistakes. They can harm others in unusual circumstances. To safeguard life and personal liberty, there is a provision of Fundamental Rights in the Constitution of India. Fundamental Rights are defended by the Supreme Court.
The Constitution fulfills people’s aspirations and creates a just society.
In Class Xth History NCERT we learned the definition of the nation-state, given by Ernst Renan, he said that nation is the result of cumulative efforts of the people, where there is a history of sacrifice and devotion. There is a sense of pride, that we achieved something great in past and we are striving to achieve greater things in the future.
The constitution enables the government to take welfare measures that allow people to live with dignity and self-respect, it guarantees material well-being, work, education, health care, and so on.
Enabling Provisions of the Constitutions
Constitutions are not only about rules and regulations, the constitutions also promote the collective good of the society and constitutions also promote welfare activities.
In India, Directive Principles encourage the government to make laws to conserve nature, safeguarding forests and wildlife, prohibit liquor and other intoxicants, protection of monuments and objects of national importance.
The Constitution of South Africa make efforts to abjure discrimination and promotes equality, The Indonesian constitution ensures that poor kids will be looked after by the government.
the constitution is the holy book, it is the supreme law of the land, it is the rule book of the nation, it decides who has the power. The constitution also regulates power between various organs of the government, it sets a limit on arbitrary power too, the Constitution safeguards life and personal liberty and tries to fulfill the aspirations of the people. It enables the government to take positive steps for the welfare of the people.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post, In the next post, you will learn about the making of the constitution.
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