The Constitution declares that the sovereignty lies with the people and the Constitution is the embodiment and solemn expression of the will of the people.
To run a state or country, there should be specific rules and regulation, codes of conduct. According to which peace and safety of a state is ensured. It is essential to make sure the safety of its citizen. Now a day citizens of a state are powerful enough to elect their representative as govt. to ensure the peace and safety of state and themselves as well. Then the govt. creates the constitution to reflect the citizen’s will and rights. The constitution of a nation is its supreme law, wherefrom the powers of government are derived and wherein the rights of the citizens of that nation are outlined. In many cases, a nation is established when its constitution is created. Constitutional litigation raises fundamental questions about what the constitution permits and forbids the government and citizens of a country to do.
“The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people; it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government – lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.”
A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These principles together make up, i.e. constitute. When these principles are written down into a single or set of legal documents, those documents are said a written constitution.
In other word, a constitution is a system for government, codified as a written document or may be unwritten, which contains fundamental laws and principles. It usually contains basic political principles, and establishes the structure, procedures, powers and duties, of a government to run the state.
In short, a constitution is established/created by the sovereign people. It is a basic set of rules and regulation that governed the system of a particular society it can be written or unwritten.
Constitution can be two types:
1. Written (Constitution of the United States of America)
2. Unwritten (British Constitution)
United Kingdom is the only country whose constitution is unwritten. The Constitution of India is the longest written constitution of any sovereign country in the world, while the United States Constitutions the shortest written constitution, at 7 articles and 27 amendments.
Constitution around the world
Research found that in 1877at Iraq there was the evidence of the earliest known code of justice, issued by the Sumerian king Urukagina of Lagash ca 2300 BC. Perhaps the earliest model for a law of government, this document itself has not yet been discovered; however it is known that it allowed some rights to his citizens. So this code of conduct was initiated to ensure the interest of the general people. For example, it is known that it relieved tax for widows and orphans, and protected the poor from the usury of the rich.
Back in those days, anarchy was more likely to get rise. In 621 BC a ruler named Draco codified the cruel oral laws of the city-state of Athens; this code prescribed the death penalty for many offences for the safety of the citizen. In 594 BC Solon, the ruler of Athens came up with the new Solonian Constitution. It eased the burden of the workers, and determined that membership of the ruling class was to be based on wealth (plutocracy), rather than by birth (aristocracy). This constitution was mainly designed to evaluate peoples’ performance to achieve power. Aristotle (ca 350 BC) is said one of the first in recorded history to submit a formal distinction between ordinary law and constitutional law. He establishes ideas of constitution and constitutionalism, and finally he attempted to classify different forms of constitutional government to provide safety, right and freedom to different classes of people.
Business and banking system was initiated in Rome. So, people needed some sort of rules and regulation to protect their interest. The Romans first codified their constitution in 450 BC as the Twelve Tables. They operated under a series of laws and this law was adjustable with time which means laws were added from time to time, but Roman law was never reorganized into a single code until the Codex Theodosianus (AD 438); later, in the Eastern Empire the Code repetitæ prælectionis (534) was highly influential throughout Europe.
The Constitution spells out the basic structure of government under which the people are to be governed. India is a Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic with a parliamentary system of government. It establishes the regulatory system of government – the executive, the legislature and the judiciary. These organs work for the government to ensure the systematic peace of the state. The Constitution not only defines the powers of each organ, but also distinguishes their responsibilities. It controls the relationship between the different organs and between the government and the people to work with harmony. The Constitution is superior to all other laws of the country. Every law enacted by the government has to be in conformity with the Constitution. The Constitution lays down the national goals of India – Democracy, Socialism, Secularism and National Integration. It also spells out the rights and duties of citizens.
Japan’s Seventeen-article constitution written in 604, is an early example of a constitution in Asian political history. Constitution was influenced by Buddhist teachings, the document focuses more on social morality than institutions of government per se and remains a notable early attempt at a government constitution. “Now the constitution provides for a parliamentary system of government and guarantees certain fundamental rights.”2 In fact in Japan political system uses a multi-party system. Prime minister is the head of the government and executive power is exercised by the government. The rights and duties of the people are prominently featured in the postwar constitution. Thirty one of its 103 articles are created to describing the commitment to the respect of fundamental human rights.
Another very ancient constitution is the Constitution of Medina, drafted by the prophet of Islam, Muhammad, in 622. It is said to be one of the earliest constitutions which guarantees basic rights to religions and adherents as well as reinforcing a judiciary process regarding the rules of warfare, tax and civil disputes to run a country. After the hijra a short written constitution was documented. It effectively established the first Islamic state. The security of the community, religious, freedom, the security of wemen, stable tribal relation in Medina was some of the key issues of that constitution.
In England, King John initiated Magna Carta in 1215. The most important single article of the Magna Carta provided that the king was not permitted to imprison, outlaw, exile or kill anyone at a whim—there must be due process of law first. This article, Article 39, of the Magna Carta read:
“No free man shall be arrested, or imprisoned, or deprived of his property, or outlawed, or exiled, or in any way destroyed, nor shall we go against him or send against him, unless by legal judgment of his peers, or by the law of the land.”
This provision became the fundamental basis of English liberty after that point. The social contract in the original case was between the king and the nobility, but was gradually extended to all of the people. Taking that concept into consideration, It led to the system of Constitutional Monarchy. At present England has no single core constitutional document. The country has an uncodified constitution. The main unwritten sources are parliamentary constitutional conventions and royal prerogatives.
In China, the Hongwu Emperor created and refined a document he called Ancestral Injunctions (first published in 1375, revised twice more before his death in 1398). These rules served in a very real sense as a constitution for the Ming Dynasty for the next 250 years. Now a day the constitution of people republic of china is the is the highest law with in the country. Recent constitution consists of five section- preamble, general principal, fundamental right and duties of the citizen, structure of state, the national flag and the emblems of the state.
Constitution in Bangladesh
Bangladesh is a unitary, independent, sovereign Republic to be known as the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. We, the people of Bangladesh, have proclaimed our Independence on the 26th day of March, 1971 and through a historic war for national independence. Nationalism, democracy and socialism meaning economic and social justice are the fundamental principles of the Constitution. Our constitution ensures the rule of law, fundamental human rights and freedom, equality and justice, political, economic and social security for all citizens. Respecting the constitution, it is our sacred duty to safeguard, protect and defend this Constitution as the constitution talks about the citizen and its wale fare. So as a citizen we have to maintain its supremacy as the embodiment of the will of the people of Bangladesh. Hence we may prosper in freedom and may make our full contribution towards international peace and co-operation in keeping with the progressive aspirations of mankind.
The objective of constitution
Basically these are the task to perform which a constitution of a state is made of. May be the constitution is different from country to country. But the objectives constitution fulfills are pretty much same regardless countries.
- Look at the Preamble
- To create a more efficient and appropriate type of government (the Articles did not work very well).
- Create a system that will be fair to all.
- To protect the common person and their family and their rights and their dignities and their pursuit of happiness.
- Encourage humanity, innovation, etc.
- To make sure our freedom and all of our descendants as well.
What constitution Does and does not Do
The founding fathers established the Constitution to do just two things:
- Establish a state/federal government
- Delegate to the federal government certain, limited (and enumerated) powers.
The Constitution was written by the thirteen original states. The federal government created by the states, via the Constitution, exists to serve the states. Until the states delegated some powers to the new federal government, those powers belonged to the states. The states, of course, delegated only some of their powers to the federal government while retaining most of their powers for themselves. And this power holds by the citizen of the state.
The Constitution does not give citizen rights. The founders considered citizen’s rights to be “God-given” or “natural rights” — citizens are born with all his rights. The constitution does, however, protect citizen’s rights by:
- Limiting the powers of government by granting to it only those specific powers that are listed in the Constitution.
- Enumerating certain, specific rights which you retain from the state being citizen.
The rights which are consider most important are listed in the bill of right. But with the time being some rights are arisen to be most important but are not listed in bill of right. This is why bill of right also says that even though some emerging right is not listed as a governing state you maintain that right. Any powers not specifically delegated by the Constitution to the federal government are retained by the states and the people (you).
Constitution upholds people’s right and freedom
Constitution ensures the freedom of expression of its citizen in respective country .they can hold ideas, share it with others. If they do not want, on one can interfere in it. Government also put restriction to protect the disclosure of the confidential information of the judicial system. The state protects the basic right of the citizen. Govt. ensures education for its citizen. It also takes care of the citizen’s health. In some countries constitution banned child labor. State takes the responsibility to protect wealth and life of its citizen. It ensures legal system to implement the rules and regulation of the constitution. People can do whatever they like unless until it is prohibited by law. This is the think people demand from state. Even people got the voting right to chose their representative as a citizen of the state. To make people’s life easy, comfortable, safe and sound constitution is there. Hence, constitution protects citizen’s social, economical, political and legal right.
Finding relationship among constitution, sovereignty and people
Constitution works like a guideline to run the state. Analyzing several countries’ constitutions we can see that constitution is made considering the interest of people. No matter whether the government system is democratic or republic, constitution always speaks by the favor of people. Economic, social, political, legal, religious demands are reflected in constitution. To run the state safe and soundly, whatever rules and regulation is needed that will be the basic of constitution. This is because people holds right by born. So they elect government as their representative to protect their interest. So it is government who works for people. So, it is government responsibility to come up with innovative ideas, rules and regulation to look after the citizen. So everything should be well being of people. Government is accountable to people for all its action. If the government focuses somewhere else, fail to protect citizens’ interest, fail to provide safety, fail to fulfill basic need, people can replace the government. The procedure is in the constitution that people can replace the govt. if the Govt. fails to protect its interest. So, we can see govt. exercise some power written in constitution given by the citizen. But the ultimate power remains in peoples’ hand. Hence we can say, constitution is the expression of the logical will of the people and the sovereignty lies with people.
In today’s world people hold all the power being citizen. So the constitution is made behalf of them. Basically constitution talks about the people. Power is distributed according to constitution. The constitution creates a relation between the state and the citizen. This relation is based on Government’s accountability. If things are going wrong, there is a dispute between govt. and citizens. Then citizen exercise their supreme power to replace the government. This is how people maintain sovereignty to protect their free will (constitution).
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