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Constitution, Constitutionalism & Constitutional law



A constitution is a powerful legal document with unique significance. It outlines how a government operates and the roles of its key components. It also spells out the guiding principles that steer the functioning of these government bodies.

Functions of the Constitution

  1. Expression of Ideology
  2. Expression of Basic Law
  3. Organizational frame work
  4. Levels of Government
  5. Amendment provision

Constitutional law

Constitutional law is all about the rules that govern how a government is structured and how its different parts work together. These rules include both laws that are officially passed and accepted by those involved in running the government. It’s basically the instruction manual for how a government should function.


Constitutionalism, in simple terms, means putting specific limits on the government’s authority to prevent arbitrary decision-making. When too much power is concentrated in the hands of a few individuals in charge, it can threaten the freedom of the people. To avoid this, we need a system that checks and balances these powers, making it difficult for dictators to emerge. In essence, Constitutionalism is all about ensuring “Limited Governance,” and this principle is reflected in the Constitutional Law of a democratic state. The Constitution of India is a prime example of a legal framework that embodies Constitutionalism.

Difference Between Constitution and Constitutionalism

The difference between constitution and constitutionalism is that the constitution acts as a document that limits the state’s power (for instance, Fundamental Rights in India), and constitutionalism is the concept of limiting the state’s outreach.

A document that limits the powers of the state.The concept/ theory/ ideology behind limiting the powers of the state.
Written document.Soul/ philosophy of the constitution- unwritten.
Deals with the structure of the government, political processes, and citizen rights.Deals with limiting the powers of the state and protecting individual rights.
Set rules and standards to distribute benefits and burdens in a society.Application of the laws in achieving those goals.
Not necessarily related to liberal democracy. For instance, China has a constitution.The underlying basis/ principle of liberal democracy.
Can be dead when a rigid constitution fails to meet society’s changing nature and aspirations.A living idea.

Read Also: Constituent Assembly of India

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