What are the merits and demerits of Rigid constitution?

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Merits of Rigid Constitution:

1. Stability:

A rigid constitution is stable and permanent. It is not a plaything in the hands of a partisan legislature. It cannot be amended easily under the pressure of popular slogans.

2. Clarity:

A rigid constitution has the further merit of being clear and well defined as it is embodied in a written legal document.

3. Provision for Bill of Rights:

A rigid constitution being written in character usually contains a bill of rights which acts as a safeguard for individual liberty. It also affords a protection for the interests of minorities and federating Units.

4.Symbolic of Sovereignty:

People are very proud of a rigid constitution as it is a symbol of their sovereign powers.

5. Indispensable in a Federation:

A rigid constitution is useful for a federation. A federation in the ultimate analysis is a political co­operation among different states. The constitution of a federation is a solemn agreement among the states. The spirit of this agreement must be kept intact. Rigidity of the constitution does not allow its spirit to be violated easily.

Demerits:

A rigid constitution does not allow free scope for growth and development. A rigid constitution cannot easily adapt itself to the changing social and economic conditions. A rigid constitution may break but it cannot bend easily.It does not provide for flexibility.

In times of stress and popular excitement, the difficulty of changing a rigid constitution may bring about a revolution. Experience shows that rigid constitutions have been responsible for revolutions. France, during the last 150 years, had to face repeated revolutions because of the rigidity of its constitution.

Macaulay aptly remarks, "One important cause of revolution is that while nations move onward the constitutions stand". A rigid constitution is compared to garment made to fit a child's body without any regard to its physical growth.

It is impossible to foresee all developments and conditions which may arise in future at the time of framing the constitution. Some scope for growth must, therefore, be kept by introducing an element of flexibility in the constitution.When a constitution does not provide for an easy amendment new circumstances would necessitate a new constitution.


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