Merits and Demerits of an Unwritten Constitution



Merits and Demerits of an Unwritten Constitution are as follows:

Merits of an Unwritten Constitution:

(1) Elasticity and Adaptability:

Unwritten Constitutions are adaptable and' they can be easily moulded according to the changed circumstances. In this way the development of the nation is not hindered. Bryce has rightly said, "Unwritten constitutions are bent or erected without destroying their structure and when the crisis is over, they take their original position, like the tree whose branches are pulled aside in order to allow the passage to a truck".

(2) Protection from revolution:

An unwritten constitution protects the country from rebellions and revolutions, because it can be moulded according to the demands of the revolutionaries without breaking its structure.

(3) Faces the blows without any difficulty:

According to Garner, "This type of constitution survives quickly, without facing the blows, while a written constitution cannot survive these blows". Judge Cooley has rightly said, "Of all the constitutions which may come into existence for the Government of the people, the most excellent is obviously that which is the natural out-growth of national life and which having grown and expanded as the nation has matured is likely at any particular time to express the prevailing sentiment regarding government and the accepted principles of civil and political liberty".

(4) Progressive:

Another merit of an unwritten constitution is that it is the result of the development of the natural life of the nation. It develops and expands wit h the development of the nation and ultimately becomes the symbol of the public opinion.

Demerits of Unwritten Constitution:

The following are the demerits of unwritten constitution:

(1) This is unstable and vague.

(2) A plaything of judicial tribunals.

A flexible and unwritten constitution becomes a plaything of judicial tribunals, because the judges interpret it in the manner they like.

(3) Not suitable for new democracies:

The critics are of the view that unwritten constitutions are suitable only for the countries where there are old democracies and for those who are quite mature in the democratic experience. For the nations which have just gained freedom and where the democratic traditions are not prevalent, unwritten constitutions are not quite suitable.

(4) Absence of the chapter on the fundamental rights:

Another drawback of unwritten constitutions is the absence of the declaration of the fundamental rights. Thus, these constitutions are unable to protect the liberty and rights of the people.