Meaning of the Constitution, Law and Constitutionalism

KNC501/KNC601 Constitution of India, Law and Engineering

Chapter 1: Introduction

Unit 1

Unit 2

  • Process to elects the President
  • Impeachment
  • Powers and Functions of the President
  • Limitations on President of India
  • List of all the 13 Presidents of India
  • Comparison of powers of Indian President with the United States
  • Quiz
  • Powers and Functions of the Prime Minister
  • List of all the Prime Ministers
  • Quiz
  • Judicial Review
  • Public Interest Litigation
  • Judicial Activism
  • LokPal and Lok Ayukta
  • The LokPal and Lok Ayuktas Act 2013
  • The Independence of the Supreme Court
  • Appointment of Judges
  • Quiz
  • Governor
  • Chief Minister in India
  • State Cabinet
  • State Legislature
  • High Court
  • Subordinate courts
  • Quiz

Unit 3

  • Sources of Law
  • The Court Structure
  • Role of the Judiciary
  • Indian Judiciary – Civil Courts
  • Enacted law – Acts of Parliament are of primary legislation
  • Common Law or Case law
  • Principles taken from decisions of judges constitute binding legal rules
  • Quiz
  • Constitutional Provisions
  • District Court
  • District Consumer Forum
  • Tribunals
  • High Courts
  • Supreme Court
  • Quiz
  • Arbitration – Introduction
  • Historical Background of Arbitration
  • Kinds of Arbitration
  • Principle Characteristics and advantages of Arbitration
  • Quiz
  • Contract Law – Introduction
  • Function of Contract law
  • Situations where a written contract is necessary
  • Quiz
  • Tort Law – Introduction
  • Difference between Tort and Crime
  • The Four Elements
  • Quiz
  • Labour Law – Introduction
  • Some important labour laws in India
  • Quiz

Unit 4

  • Intellectual Property Laws – Introduction
  • Types of Intellectual Property Rights
  • Legal Aspects of Patents
  • Filing of Patent Applications
  • Rights from Patents
  • Infringement of Patents
  • Copyright and its Ownership
  • Infringement of Copyright
  • Civil Remedies for Infringement
  • Quiz
  • RTI – Introduction
  • Right to Information Act, 2005
  • Information Technology Act, 2000
  • Quiz
  • E-Governance – Introduction
  • Advantages and Disadvantages of E-Governance
  • Secure Electronic Records and Digital Signatures
  • Digital Signature Certificates (DSC)
  • Cyber Regulations Appellate Tribunal
  • Offences
  • Limitations of the Information Technology Act
  • Quiz

Unit 5

  • Companies: The Company’s Act
  • Articles of Association
  • Prospectus
  • Shares
  • Directors
  • General Meetings and Proceedings
  • Auditor
  • Winding up
  • Quiz
  • E-Government
  • Role/Impact of Engineers and Technology on E-Governance
  • Challenges faced by E-Governance in India
  • Need for reformed engineering serving at the Union and State level
  • Role of IT Professionals in Judiciary
  • Alienation and Sucessionism
  • Quiz


  • Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Technical University, Lucknow (AKTU)

Meaning of Constitution, Law and Constitutionalism

Studying Constitutional Law entails the key questions as below:

    1. How is individual freedom to be reconciled with the claims of social justice?
    2. Is society founded upon a reciprocal network of rights and duties?
    3. Is the individual merely a pawn in the hands of State power?
    • Constitutional law concerns the relationship between the individual and the state, seen from a particular view front, namely the notion of law.
    • The rules of constitutional law govern political relations within a given society, reflecting a particular distribution of political power.
      In a stable society, constitutional law expresses what may be a very high degree of consensus about the organs and procedures by which political decisions are taken by recourse to armed force, gang warfare, or the might of terrorist violence, the rules of constitutional law are either non-existent or at best, no more than a transparent cover for a power struggle that is not conducted by anything deserving the name of the law.
    • Within a stable democracy, constitutional law reflects the value that people attach to orderly human relations, to individual freedom under the law, and institutions such as Parliament, political parties, free elections, and a free press.

What is a Constitution?

Applied to the system of law and government by which the affairs of a modern state are administered, the word constitution has two main meanings:

    1. It means a document having a special legal status that sets out the framework and principal functions of the organs of government within the state and declares the principles or rules by which those organs must operate.
    2. In modern words, the constitution refers to the whole system of government of a country, the collection of rules which establish and regulate or govern the government. This system is founded partly on Acts of Parliament and Judicial decisions, partly upon political practice and partly upon detailed procedures established by the various organs of government for carrying out their tasks, e.g. the law and custom of Parliament or the rules issued by the Prime Minister to regulate the conduct of Ministers.

It has been said of the US constitution that (the) governing constitution is a synthesis of legal doctrines, institutional practices, and political norms.

The Making of Written Constitutions

It was in the late 18th century that the word constitution came to be identified with a single document, mainly as a result of the American and French Revolutions. The political significance of the new concept of constitutions was stressed by the radical, Tom Paine.

A constitution is a thing antecedent to a government, and a government is only the creature of a constitution.

A constitution is not the act of a government, but a people constituting a government, and a government without a constitution is power without a right.

A documentary constitution normally reflects the beliefs and political aspirations of those who have framed it. During the 1990s, after the collapse of the Commission, eastern and central Europe saw an end of constitution-making, as a revolution against socialist regimes led to the creation of new structures that embraced liberal and democratic values.

After 1945, as British colonies acquired their independence, numerous variants of what was referred to as the “Westminster Model” constitution were created. It became common practice for guarantees of rights and broad political declarations to be included in the constitution of the newly independent countries.


This term often appears in the discussion of the relationship between state power, law, democracy, and the preservation of liberal values.

A Norwegian political scientist has said that constitutionalism is the political doctrine that claims that political authority should be bound by institutions that restrict the exercise of power.

A Hungarian jurist has written that constitutionalism “is the set of principles, manners and institutional arrangements” that have traditionally served to limit government.

And for an American commentator, “the special virtue of constitutionalism lies not merely in reducing the power of the state, but in effecting that reduction by the advance imposition of rules”

The idea of constitutionalism is particularly associated with the existence of a written constitution from which the state’s authority and legitimacy may be felt to derive, and which may limit the power of the state and help protect the rights of individuals and minorities.

What is Constitutional Law?

There is no hard and fast definition of constitutional law. According to one wide definition –

“Constitutional law is that part of national law which governs the systems of public administration and the relationship between the individual and the state.”

Constitutional law presupposes the existence of the state (N. Mac Cormack, 1993), and includes those laws which regulate the structure and functions of the principal organs of the government and their relationship to one another and the citizen.

Where there is a written constitution, emphasis is placed on the rules which it contains and on how they have been interpreted by the highest court with constitutional jurisdiction.

These rules, principles, and practices are essential to understanding the relationship between what may be called the “Political Constitution” and the “legal constitution”, and give a constitutional meaning to disparate events. Constitutional law does not comprehend the whole of the legal system, but how issues concerning rights, powers, and duties are settled is of direct concern to constitutional law.

Author – Dilip Kumar Rawat

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