What are the merits and demerits of Unwritten Constitution?

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Merits of Unwritten Constitution:

1. An unwritten constitution, being flexible, is able to deal with the changed condition.

2. As an unwritten constitution grows over a long period, it gains in wisdom and maturity.

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3. There is not much fear of rebellion or revolution in a country having an unwritten constitution.

4. In a country with an unwritten constitution, customs, traditions and conventions receive due importance.

Demerits of Unwritten Constitution:

1. An unwritten constitution is unclear and ambiguous. It is full of doubts.’ result, it also contains some elements of contradiction. It undermines performance of government.

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2. As it is very easy to bring about changes in a political system with an unwritten constitution, many undesirable changes take place resulting in a lot of instability.

3. An unwritten constitution does not clearly express fundamental rights of individuals. They cannot enjoy their freedoms and they cannot actively take part in the demo­cratic process. Therefore, an unwritten constitution is not good for democracy.

4. An unwritten constitution is not good for a federal system, as it does not provide for proper distribution of powers between the centre and federal units – states or provinces. Because of this, many disputes occur between the central government and state or provincial governments.

The differences between written and unwritten constitutions, stated above, are more theoretical than real. Though most of countries have opted for written constitution, written constitutions are not necessarily superior to unwritten constitutions.

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On the contrary, in many countries having written constitution, the performance of government is not good and people are deprived of their basic rights. The basic rights of individuals in Britain with an unwritten constitution are as safer as the basic rights of individuals in America with a written constitution.

The constitutions have also been divided into two other categories, namely rigid constitution and flexible constitution.

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