What are the Major Functions of the Constitution in a Country?

The Constitution plays the major role in a country as it is the grundnorm. In fact, it is worthy of note that the Constitution is the main determinant of the things obtainable in a state. The Constitution functions in a way that the system of government, socio-economic, political, cultural and the most aspects of human live are determined by the Constitution.

For the citizens to be happy or sad, it depends on the Constitution and the type of constitution a country adopts. The Constitution has some roles to play to ensure the happiness of every citizen. This is one of the reasons Constitution is very important in every society.

Moreso, a lawless society is a chaos society. Any state or country which does not have a law cannot function well. Now, the question is, what “exactly” is the function of the Constitution? The answer is, the Constitution maintains order in a country. It does this by laying down rules and regulations for such country to follow.

Before we go proper into the roles of the Constitution, it is important to state that the constitution is supreme. Nobody is above it especially in a democratic state. However, some forms of government allow the top officials to be above the law but it is not so in a democratic society. Since the Constitution is above everyone, it sees everyone as equal and also plays it’s roles in the same manner.

Major functions or roles of the Constitution

Under this subheading, we shall look at the roles which a constitution plays in a country.

Laying down rules and regulations

The Constitution itself, in its definition, is a set of rules and regulations. It tells all the principles acceptable in a society. If any citizen goes against its provisions, the Constitution has a way of punishing such citizen.

It is important to state that the Constitution contains offences and the punishment that follows each offence. One cannot be punished outside the dictates of the Constitution.

Anything which the Constitution sees to be right is right. Nobody goes against it. And if anyone does, he will be punished by the law. However, the Constitution is a product of the members of the parliament and as such may contain some laws that work hardship on the people since the parliamentarians are humans. In a case like this, the Constitution can be amended or repealed by the parliament.

The fact that it is superior does not mean it cannot be changed. Therefore, any rule or regulation in the Constitution which is inconsistent to public good will be repealed or amended.

The Constitution provides the form of government in a country

A form of government refers to the type of government which a country operates. Examples of forms of government are: Federalism, parliamentarian system, president system, unitary system of government and so on.

The Constitution defines and adopts the system of government of a country. A country does not just exist without drafting its constitution. In other words, it gets ready the type of government to operate. The type of government a country runs defines the efficiency of the country. It also defines the structure of government. For instance, a country that adopts a unitary system of government cannot have the same government structure with a federal system of government.

Provision for Separation of Power | Roles of the Constitution

The Constitution provides for Separation of power between the arms of government in a country. All the arms work together to achieve good governance yet they have their different roles. None of the arms of government interferes with the duties of another.

The executive arm enforces the law, legislature makes law and the judiciary interprets the law. These are the basic functions of the arms of government. They perform their roles according to the dictates of the Constitution.

Ensuring fundamental human rights of citizens

One of the major functions of the Constitution is to provide and protect the fundamental human rights of it’s citizens. Some fundamental rights include right to life, freedom of speech, freedom of movement an so on.

The Constitution protects them jealousy through the judicial arm. It does this by ensuring that no one deprives another of his rights unlawfully. However, human rights have limitations.

When a person feels he has been deprived of his rights, he can approach the court (judiciary) to grant him justice.

It is important to add that one’s rights could be taken away lawfully when the law supports it. The Constitution states that when a person takes the life a person, his own life will also be taken. By this, the state can take away to right to life of a murderer.

It directs the states in making legislation | Roles of the Constitution

Laws are not made blindly. It has its own special procedures of making it. The Constitution directs the law making body on how to pass a bill till it becomes a law.

In Nigeria, before the parliament makes a law, it passes through some stages. For instance, in Nigeria, the parliament passes bills through the following stages first reading > second reading > committee stage > report stage > third reading > Assent. If the parliament skips any if these stages, such law will not be accepted because they didn’t follow the Constitutional procedure.

Attachment of punishment to offences

Just like I said above, the Constitution provides offences and the punishments. No one has the right to punishment a person outside the dictates of the Constitution. The Constitution understands the nature of man, how wicked he could be even a to a fellow human. For such reason, it decides to spell out the offences and the appropriate punishment following each.

It provides the system of administration

It is one of the functions of the Constitution to show a country how their government will be. The essence of this is to ensure efficiency.

Let’s take an instance here. The Constitution of Nigeria provides for the different roles of the arms of government. It also provides for periodic elections. The general election of Nigeria holds every fours years according to the Constitution. It also stipulates the mode of swearing in the newly elected officials into their various offices. It also states the functions of the administrative bodies.

The Constitution upholds the sovereignty of the country

The Constitution of a country shows that a country is able enough to run its affairs and anyone within the country is bound by such constitution except the ambassadors from other countries.

Conclusion – The functions of the Constitution

If the constitution is there but the administration is poor, then, the Constitution won’t function effectively. If the Constitution is not there at all, things will be in their worst states. Therefore, both efficient administration and constitution are needed for good governance.

Finally, the law makers operate under the dictates of the Constitution even after making it. They can also repeal or amend same constitution. However, it has to follow some procedure before making changes.

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