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Purpose and functions of a Constitution

  • Lays out certain ideals that form the basis of the kind of country that we as citizens aspire to live in.
  • Defines the nature of a country’s political system; plays a crucial role in laying out certain important guidelines that govern decision-making within these societies.
  • Provides a set of basic rules that allow for minimal coordination amongst members of a society.
    • Provides safeguards against the leaders who might misuse their authority—sets some limits on what a government can impose on its citizens. These limits are fundamental in the sense that government may never trespass them. (Ex – Aseem Trivedi, Shreya Singal Case, Section 66A of IT Act)
    • Protects minorities from tyranny of the majority (i.e. from inter-community and intra- community domination (Ex – Apartheid Movement in South Africa)
    • Constitution saves us from ourselves (This may go against our larger interests and the Constitution helps us guard against this.)
    • It helps to protect us against certain decisions that we might take that could have an adverse effect on the larger principles that the country believes in. Therefore, the constitution sets authoritative constraints upon what one may or may not do. (Ex – Cow slaughter, Ghar Wapsi issue)
    • Enables the government to fulfill the aspirations of a society and create conditions for a just society. (Directive Principles of State Policy, DPSP and various acts)
    • Constitution expresses the fundamental identity of a people.

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