Constitutionalism is an ideology that explains the way of life, values, beliefs, ideals of the citizens of the country. Constitutionalism is a goal that has to be achieved and the constitution is the means to achieve that goal. These are the principles that bound the political powers by certain regulations. This arrangement which forces the rulers to stay within their jurisdiction by means of a written constitution is called Constitutionalism.
Constitutionalism Vs Constitution
The constitution means the basic rules and principles which govern the democratic form of the government in a state. It is basically the supreme law of the land. Whereas Constitutionalism is a much wider concept than having merely a written Constitution. Constitutionalism imbibes the concept of the Constitution, which further helps in the establishment of good governance in a democratic state.
Any law which is made by the state has to be in compliance with the Constitution of the state whereas the concept of Constitutionalism is not important for a state to function. This concept is applied only in a democratic and progressive government whose sole intention is that of good governance. It may be possible that in a state, the constitution is prevalent but the very idea of constitutionalism is absent. For example, in the past, during the time of Hitler, Germany had its own Constitution but the idea of constitutionalism in the country did not prevail, due to which the country soon became an autocratic state.
Key Features of Constitutionalism
1. Government in accordance with the Constitution
2. Separation of Powers
3. Sovereignty of the people and democratic government.
4. Constitutional Review
5. Independent Judiciary
6. Federal form of government
Constitutionalism and Democracy
Constitutionalism is a much broader concept than Democracy. While Democracy
In a state means the system in which the people of the country elect the government. Whereas Constitutionalism is the principles on the basis of which the government of the state has to function. What are the limitations that are set forth for the government authorities and political powers? No authority can function beyond these set constitutional limits which describe the very idea of constitutionalism. It is not possible in a state to imply the concept of democracy without applying Constitutionalism in a democratic setup.
Constitutionalism and Rule of Law
Article 14 of the Constitution ensures that the state shall not deny to any person
equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of
India. Rule of law which was propounded by Professor Dicey means that no
person can be punished except for violation of law established in an ordinary
court of the country. Whereas Constitutionalism is a broader concept that
includes Rule of Law as it is supremely important in a democracy for the good
Governance of the country. One of the key features of the Constitution is the
Rule of law because it ensures that no person is above the law and equality of all
Citizens before the law irrespective of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth.
The idea of Constitutionalism is of foremost importance for a state to become
Progressive and for the good governance of the country. It should also be the prior
Responsibility of the political powers, ruling the state, to apply the concept of
Constitutionalism for a healthy democracy. As a written constitution, without
Constitutionalism would just be mere rules and regulations for the citizens,
Without progressing further in the form of a state.
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