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8th May 2023
Constitutionalism, Liberty, Rule of Law, Equality and Liberalism
Constitutionalism refers to the act that defines that a country or state should be governed by specific rules or the ruling document, i.e., the Constitution. A constitution is a ruling document within a country that defines the specific rules and behaviours to govern and run the country. The ideas of Constitutionalism and the Constitution are of the people and for the people. They work in favour of the people to ensure the protection of their human rights. It is a philosophy that restricts the government to some extent to run the country properly.
Importance of Constitutionalism
Constitutionalism is the basic structure on which the governance of a country or state strictly depends. Its importance cannot be ignored in any aspect. Some key points are mentioned below:
- It is a set of norms that prevents the state from abusing its power
- It ensures that the people have liberty and get justice which is crucial for a democratic country such as India
- It ensures proper governance within the country or state as it puts restrictions on the overuse of state power, thereby protecting the rights of the democracy
- It helps in the better development and welfare in the developing countries as it denotes equal rights for all
- It ensures that the state is based on specific rules and guidelines, which states every person has the right to human dignity.
Elements of Constitutionalism
It implies the following elements which characterise the Constitution in India.
It initiates that the government is free from any bias from any particular authority. In short, it ensures the government is of the people, by the people, for the people.
- Supremacy of the Constitution and Rule of Law
It denotes the country is run through rules, not authority or powers. No one can decide the governance except the laws and regulations which have been already stated.
- Political Democracy
In a democracy, individual rights and equality should be protected. It declares equal rights to all the individuals within the country.
- Representative-limited Government
It declares the representatives are selected through a proper election process by the people. They elect representatives for their welfare, so they should be accountable and answerable to the general public for their actions.
- Separation of Power
It divides the whole power into three branches, i.e., Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary. This helps keep checks and balances in each area separately and in a better way.
- Civilian Control of the Military Force
It denotes that the Civilian government should control the Military force in such a way that the Military cannot have any way to interfere in the democratic decision-making process of the country.
- Police Governed by Law and Judicial Control
It ensures the Police power should be judged by the Law and Judicial control. Police have no right to harm the dignity of the people.
- An Independent Judiciary
The independence of the Judiciary system ensures the freedom of the democratic power in India. It means that the government is free to run the country if the laws support it.
Rule of law
Rule of law means that all laws apply equally to all citizens of the country and no one can be above the law. Any crime or violation of law has a specific punishment as well as a process through which the guilt of the person has to be established.
It also says that no person shall be subject to harsh, uncivilized or discriminatory treatment even for the sake of maintaining law and order.
Principles of Rule of law
A.V. Dicey, a constitutional expert, had developed this concept and defined 3 principles that govern the rule of law.
- Absence of arbitrary power (supremacy of law)
- Equality before law (No one is above law)
- Predominance of legal spirit.
Significance of Rule of law
Rule of law is a system where laws rule and not men. The following points highlight the significance of rule of law
- It reverses the tyranny or anarchy
- It puts legal barriers to governmental arbitrariness
- It provides safeguards for the protection of individuals
- It gives freedom to the judiciary to control the executive who exceeds their jurisdiction
- Public welfare should be the dominant consideration.
Liberalism is a political and philosophical ideology to establish individual freedom, consent and equality. Different liberals adopt a vast range of views based on their understanding of this ideology. Individual rights, including civil and human rights, come first among these views.
It also supports freedom and liberty of speech, religious conscience and press, defining secularism and democracy.
Liberalism in India
Liberalism in India developed through several phases as follows:
- It started with an ancient theory that stressed earthly life and materialism.
- Then, it evolved through social reforms and political independence in the middle and late 19th century.
- It now emphasises economic and social freedom with minimal Government intervention.