What are the merits and demerits of Flexible and Unwritten Constitution?

Some of the most important merits and demerits of Flexible and Unwritten Constitution are :

Merits of Flexible and Unwritten Constitution:

(1) They are adaptable to the social political environment, which is dynamic. Thus British Constitution once wedded to the theory of Laissez Faire, today has adapted itself to the current sway in favor of Welfare State and socialism.

(2) An unwritten constitution being flexible is not liable to revolutionary or violent changes. It yields to popular will and hence people do not resort to violence.

(3) Bryce opines that 'they can be stretched or bent so as to meet emergencies without braking their framework, and when the emergency has passed, they slip back to the old form." Thus a flexible constitution can encounter an emergency more efficiently.

(4) In the words of Gilchrist,' A flexible constitution provides an excellent mirror of national mind." A rigid constitution represents national mind at one particular period, but it may not move with arms. A flexible constitution is, therefore, adaptable to the changing conditions of a dynamic society.

Demerits of Flexible and Unwritten Constitution:

(1) An unwritten constitution is not suitable for all nations; it is best suited to a nation with political consciousness and vigilant public opinion.

(2) An unwritten constitution can be amended easily and hence individual or party whim subjects it to numerous changes. Thus, the sacredness of a constitution is lost.

(3) The greatest demerit of an unwritten constitution is that it lacks definiteness. It is not embodied in a single document.

(4) It is further contended that written constitution becomes a plaything of judicial tribunals, which give their own interpretation to the ambiguous phraseology of the constitution.

(5) It is said that unwritten constitution are more suitable for aristocracies than for democracy. For in a democracy masses are suspicious to constitutional provisions that are not formally enacted but rest on customary sanctions. It is also unsuitable to federal State.

(6) Lastly, unwritten constitutions allow a wider margin to public officers than the written constitutions.