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C6 constitution

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C6 constitution

  1. 1. CHAPTER 6: CONSTITUTION TOPICS TO BE COVERED:  Definition of Constitution  Types of Constitution  Written and Unwritten and their advantages/disadvantages  Rigid and flexible and their advantages/disadvantages  Characteristics of a good constitution  Concept of constitutionalism 1
  2. 2. INTRODUCTION  A constitution is important to establish a stable & orderly state  All states creates rules/ principles with which to guide the interaction between the rulers and the ruled  In short, constitution is the basic design of the structure & powers of the government & the rights & duties of its citizen  It provides the highest set of principles/ laws in a state 2
  3. 3. Roskin & Medeiros listed 3 purposes of a constitution: 1) A statement of national ideals  they provide the symbolic function of putting in writing a statement of national ideals 2) Formalizes the structure of government  A constitution is a blueprint, a written description of who does what in gov., defining the authority & limiting the powers of each branch & providing for regularized channels thought which conflict may be resolved 3) Establishes the legitimacy of government  They attempt to justify the government’s right to govern 3
  4. 4. DEFINITION 1) Roskin & Medeiros1) Roskin & Medeiros  A written document that sets forth the fundamental rules by which a political system is governed 2) Woolsey2) Woolsey  Collection of the principles according to which the powers of gov & the rights of the gov & the relationship between the 2 are adjusted 4
  5. 5. TYPES OF CONSTITUTION 1) WRITTEN CONSTITUTION • Most of the fundamental principles of governmental organization are written down in a document/ a series of documents • E.g the constitutions of Malaysia, Canada (are written) The fundamental principles concerning legislature, the executive & judiciary & their powers, the fundamental rights of the citizens & the procedure for amending the constitution are clearly written down in a document!! 5
  6. 6. 2) UNWRITTEN CONSTITUTION  The fundamental rules & regulations regarding the structure of the government/ fundamental rights & liberties are not written down in a document  It may be scattered in various documents/It may be scattered in various documents/ found in usages, customs, traditions &found in usages, customs, traditions & conventions of the countryconventions of the country  E.g: the constitution of Britain (many people are puzzled by the absence of a written constitution in Great Britain) 6
  7. 7. ADVANTAGES & DISADVANTAGES OF UNWRITTEN & WRITTEN CONSTITUTION??? 1)it is not easy to violate a written const. by the gov 2) The citizens can read & know the provisions of the const. 3) const. limits the power of the gov. (that’s why the distribution of powers must be clearly written down in a document) 4) An unwritten constitution is not certain & fails to provide distinction between constitutional & ordinary laws A written constitution has more advantages!! Because it is: 1. Certain 2. Definite 3. distinct 7
  8. 8. 3.) RIGID vs. FLEXIBLE CONSTITUTION  Can’t be changed easily ( there is distinct method/ procedure for amending the const. which is very complicated & rigorous & not limited to the authority of legislature alone  Eg: USA const. can’t be amended by Congress alone (it needs the approval of the people in a Referendum  Eg: Canada const. can’t be changed just by the Parliament (it needs the approval of the 7 provincial legislatures of 10 provinces having 50% of the total populations RIGID 8
  9. 9. RIGID vs. FLEXIBLE CONSTITUTION It can be changed easily by legislature like passing an ordinary law  There is no special procedure for amending such const  Eg: Bangladesh – the const. can be changed by 2/3 majority voted of the members of legislature  The passing of ordinary law requires only a simple majority  So, in flexible const. the power of parliament is supreme ( it is the final authority in determining the changes in the const.  But, in a rigid const. the power of legislatures is limited by the const. itself FLEXIBLE 9
  10. 10. ADVANTAGES 1) Since it is difficult to change the ruling elites, the gov. can’t just change any provisions according to its convenience 2) It is stable in nature (stability is a prime requisite of the modern const. & const. must possess a high degree of stability. Otherwise, the pol.syst. Suffers from pol. & eco instabilities) 3) Limited possibility of conflict between the gov (because their distribution of powers are clearly stated in the written const.) 4) The fundamental rights of the citizens are well guaranteed when those rights are written DISADVANTAGES 1. The conditions of society are constantly changing. The rigid const. can’t foresee the future. (so that’s why it is not good to have a rigid const. 2. If serious constitutional crisis, then it can be avoided by immediately changing the const. 3. A written const gives too much power to the judiciary to decide on the validity of laws. But the attitude of the judiciary, which lacks flexibility may accelerate the forces which upset the const. itself ADVANTAGES & DISADVANTAGES OF RIGID CONSTITUTION??? 10
  11. 11. ADVANTAGES 1) This type of const. is dynamic (able to meet the new demands of society- social, economic & political changes) 2) It is adaptable to changing/ emergency circumstances 3) Revolutions can be avoided. DISADVANTAGES 1. If it is too flexible, then any government/ any party in power can change the constitution to suit its needs 2. Thus, the constitution can become unstable and will affect the social and political progress of the nation ADVANTAGES & DISADVANTAGES OF FLEXIBLE CONSTITUTION??? 11
  12. 12. RIGID vs FLEXIBLE???  1 could easily say that the best constitution is 1 with a mixture of both  The const. should permitting changes to be made, yet will ensure that the society will not be affected  The procedure of amendment should not be so complicated & delaying. The amending process should meet the needs of the time.  Progress and development can only be secured in countries with rigid const. by a sufficiently easy method of amendment. 12
  13. 13. SHOULD CORRESPOND TO THE ACTUAL CONSITIONS OF THE STATE SHOULD BE EMENDABLE, LEGALLY WITHOUT TOO MUCH DIFFICULTY MUST LIMIT THE POWER OF THE GOVERNMENT INCORPORATE ALL FUNDAMENTALS RIGHTS OF THE PEOPLE COMPREHENSIVE MUST BE WRITTEN SHOULD BE DEFINITE & CLEAR A GOOD CONSTITUTION 13
  14. 14. -is a modern concept that desires a political order governed by laws & regulations CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT/ CONSTITUTIONALISM  An existence of a constitution does not guarantee that the political system is constitutional  There is no guarantee of constitutionalism just because a constitution exists Constitutionalism? 14
  15. 15. Constitutionalism…  Is only way through which people’s rights can be protected  It asserts that no public official should ever exercise unlimited authority/ govern without accountability to the people  Very strong in some developed countries & weak in some of them  It is strong in Canada & Britain, but weak in France 15
  16. 16. A Constitutional Government…  Means a limited government  In other words, the power of the government is limited by the constitutional rules  The powers of the government are curtailed & procedures are defined in a constitution  Therefore, a constitutional government is also called as a limited government  Eg: the Constitution of USA prohibits the President, even during wartime, from seizing or nationalizing industries without the approval of Congress 16
  17. 17. End of chapter 6 17

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