Constitutionalism : A Study

“There is “no happiness without liberty, no liberty without self-government, no self-government, without constitutionalism, no constitutionalism without morality–and none of these great goods without stability and order.”
-Clinton Rossiter.


The concept of constitutionalism is about regulating governmental powers. Constitutionalism not only recognizes the need for power to each authority but also defines its structure and puts limits on such powers. It is to protect people from potential abuse of power and to confer them with rights. It is often termed as an amalgamation of concepts like rule of law, separation of powers, accountability, and judicial control and independence, sovereignty, etc. It is said to be evolved back in 1215 when Magna Carta was signed which had put limitations on the power of the king. It built a precedent for constitutionalism. Constitutionalism also seeks to remove the arbitrariness of the rulers. It seeks to establish a government that rules in the best interest of the people, not under its own whims and fancies.

Types of constitutionalism
Political constitutionalism
The use of political mechanisms to limit the power of government is called political constitutionalism. It decides on who can rule, how will one rule through establishing institutions, decision-making structure is specified, procedures are specified. The design of the political system is predefined and the powers are accessible only through these mechanisms.


Legal constitutionalism

Legal constitutionalism is a way of imposing restrictions on governmental powers through legislation. It seeks to protect individual rights. Written constitutions, constitutive of the lawful and political framework, better than other enactments, dug in against change, and listing justiciable rights, ensure equivalent regard and worry for all residents. Legal constitutionalism is in this way a fundamental help of popular government. Judiciary hence enabling a balance of power and checks and balances an independent judiciary which states it is free from the influence of any other body of government. Judicial review also plays an important role as they keep a check that all the authorities are exercising their power within limits.

India and constitutionalism
Constitutionalism is termed as a political philosophy that ensures that the government is functioning according to the constitutional provisions. The fact that ideas of constitutionalism are enshrined in the preamble. India has a democratically elected government that believes that the people of the country are the ultimate sovereign. The rulers exercise their power for the people. Without democracy, it is difficult to establish the existence of constitutionalism.
India also follows the principles of Rule of law which establish the supremacy of law and not of rulers it also follows the principle of separation of power where authority is distributed among the executive, legislature, and judiciary hence enabling a balance of power and checks and balances an independent judiciary which states it is free from the influence of any other body of government. Judicial review also plays an important role as they keep a check that all the authorities are exercising their power within limits. The plan and character of the Indian Constitution guarantee that the forces of the Executive and the Legislature are restricted so the watchfulness given to these organs doesn’t transform into assertion, a subjective exercise. The Fundamental Rights, the essential design, government arrangement of the organization, the alteration system all breaking point the State with a certain goal in mind.

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