Modern Constitutions

Topics: United States Constitution, Constitution, Separation of powers Pages: 13 (4976 words) Published: January 31, 2012

In the modern era of development and technological advancements, a constitution is a necessity of every country in order to have an organised institutional authority. The constitution may be written, unwritten, codified or uncodified. The most general classification of a constitution is codification or lack of it. The constitution delves into the very essence of law and its various implications and consequences. It defines the administration and execution of the land. The book MODERN CONSTITUTIONS by K.C. Wheare talks about the modern constitutions of the various countries of the world and their varied influence on the respective countries. The book ‘Modern Constitution’ by K.C.Wheare is an exhaustive commentary on the nature of Constitution set of legal rules which regulate the system of government of that particular country. The book is a comprehensive, incisive and clear study of modern Constitutions, their classification, the authority they can claim on moral, legal and political grounds and different changes that may take place in such Constitutions as a result of amendments, judicial interpretations or usage and convention. The book traces the chequered history of the evolution of Constitutions of different nations and how such Constitutions acquired the status of ‘fundamental law’ of the land. It enumerates in detail about what a Constitution should ideally contain so as to evoke the respect due to a supreme law and be eligible for all communities. The book reveals to us how the Constitutions of different nations tend to reflect the dominant beliefs or interests which are characteristic of the society at that time. It describes Constitution as ‘a resultant of a parallelogram of forces-political, economic and social- which operate at the time of its adoption.’ The book gives us an overview of how and why some nations attribute the title of ‘fundamental law’ to their Constitution and other nations treat it at par with ordinary law. It explains the need to have Constitution in a country and its significance. The book, therefore, reveals to us the intricacies of the forming of constitutions across different nations and its impact on the system of governance.

The first chapter deals with basic understanding of the Constitution. The author explains in details the very meaning of the word Constitution, the ambit of the word and its influence over the country. The word constitution is used to define the whole system of the government of a country. It is an assortment of partly legal rules where the courts would identify and apply them and extra-legal rules in the form of usage, understandings, customs or conventions. In every country other than Britan, the word constitution is used in a narrower sense. It is used to describe a selection of rules which has been embodied in one document or in a few closely related documents and it is a selection of legal rules only. The most famous example of such constitution would be that of United States of America. The wider meaning of the word “constitution’ is the older meaning; It is the meaning which Bolingbroke intended when he wrote in his essay “on Parties.”By constitution we mean whatever we speak with propriety and exactness that assemblage of laws, institutions and customs derived from certain fixed principles of reason. However in this book ‘Constituion’will be used in the narrow sense of the term, this doesn’t mean we will solely confine ourselves to the study of that selection of legal rules to regulate government which is found in a country’s constitution. This selection doesn’t operate in isolation. Legislatures are not the only source of legal rules. Constitutions are supplemented and modified by rules of law which emerge from the interpretations of the Courts and outside the realms of the legal rules, Constitutions may be supplemented or modified or even be nullified by usages, customs and conventions. In some...
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