What is a Constitution and what are its Functions?
First Published: March 10, 2013 | Last Updated:October 28, 2017
The struggle for India’s independence was over when the British left our country in August 1947. But this was not an end; it was the beginning for a new struggle. After centuries of ups and downs, an ancient country was re-born as an independent nation. But living as an independent nation was not something of easy virtue. At the same time, the new struggle was to establish a democratic nation based upon the ideals of justice, liberty, equality and fraternity. So the paramount need was to frame a constitution as the basic law of the land.
The first question arises is – What is a Constitution?
The Constitution is a set of laws and rules that sets up machinery of the Government of a state and which defines and determines the relations between the different institutions and components of the government , the executive, the legislature, the judiciary, the central and the local Government.
Accordingly we can define the functions of the Constitution as follows:
- The constitution provides a set of basic rules that allow for minimal coordination amongst members of a society.
- It also lays out the fundamental principles according to which a state is constituted or governed.
- It specifies the basic allocation of power in a society, and gives certain decision making powers to the law makers.
- It specifies who has the power to make decisions in a society. It decides how the government will be constituted.
- Then, the constitution enables the government to fulfil the aspirations of the society and to implement the ideals of justice, liberty and fraternity. At the same time it sets some limits on what a government can impose on its citizens.
- These limits are fundamental means government may never trespass them. For example, there are certain fundamentals rights provided to the citizens of the country, which the government can never trespass.
The first well known example of a constitution was the Constitution of United States of America. This remarkable document is hailed for its ‘brevity, restraint and simplicity”. Many aspects of the US constitution were borrowed by the framers of the Indian Constitution, but still, much part of the Constitution of India was sourced and adapted from the British made Government of India Act 1935. Then, experience and good things of various other constitutions such as that of Russia, Japan, and Canada etc. were taken and adapted in the constitution of India. That is why; the Constitution of India is a result of considerable imitation and adaptation rather than originality.
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