Why Does a Country Need a Constitution?
All democratic countries are likely to have a Constitution, but on the other hand, it is not necessary that all countries that have a Constitution are democratic. The Constitution serves several purposes as listed below:
- A Constitution lays out certain ideals that form the basis of the kind of country that we as citizens aspire to live in.
- A Constitution tells about the fundamental nature of our society.
Fig: Indian Constitution
- A Constitution helps serve as a set of rules and principles that all persons in a country can agree upon as the basis of the way in which they want the country to be governed.
- This includes the type of government and also an agreement on certain ideals that they all believe the country should uphold.
- When Nepal was a monarchy, it reflected the final authority of the king. After the transition of Nepal into a democracy, it started the process of writing a new constitution for the country.
- In a democracy, leaders exercise their power responsibly on the behalf of the people.
- In democratic societies, the constitution lays down rules that guard against the misuse of authority by our political leaders.
- A Constitution plays an important function in a democracy to ensure that a dominant groups does not use its power against any person, group, organization, etc.
- Constitution prevents tyranny or domination by the majority of a minority.
- The Constitution helps to protect us against certain decisions that we might take and which may have an adverse effect on the larger principles that the country believes in.
The Indian Constitution: Key Features
The Indian National Movement had been active in the struggle for Independence from British rule for several decades.
Fig: Indian Constitution feature
1. Federalism: Refers to the existence of more than one level of government in the country.
2. Parliamentary Form of Government: The Constitution of Indian guarantees universal adult suffrage for all citizens. This means people have a direct role in electing their representatives.
3. Separation of Powers: There are three organs of the states:
- the Legislature
- the Executive and
- the Judiciary
The legislature refers to our elected representatives, the executive is a smaller group of people who are responsible for implementing laws and running the government. The judiciary refers to the system of courts in the country.
4. Fundamental Rights:
- The Fundamental Rights are referred to as the ‘conscience’ of Indian Constitution. Fundamental Rights protect citizens against the arbitrary and absolute exercise of power by the state.
- The Constitution guarantees the rights of individuals against the State as well as against other individuals.
- There are six Fundamental Rights in the Indian Constitution, which are:
(i) Right to Equality;
(ii) Right to Freedom;
(iii) Right against Exploitation;
(iv) Right to Freedom of Religion;
(v) Cultural and Education as Rights;
(vi) Right to Constitution Remedies.
- In addition to Fundamental Rights, the Constitution has a section called Directive Principles of State Policy.
Fig: Fundamental rights
- It ensures greater social and economic reforms and to serve as a guide to independent Indian state to institute laws and policies that help reduce the poverty of the masses.
5. Secularism: A secular state is one in which the state does not officially promote any one religion as the state religion.
The Constitution plays a crucial role in laying out the ideals that we would like all citizens of the country to adhere to, including the representatives that we elect to rule us.