Essay on the Difference between Rigid and Flexible Constitution

Ordinary laws when in conflict with the constitutional Provisions are null and void. However, in practice it has been found that even so called written and rigid constitution are not as rigid as they appear. The Constitution of the U.S.A. is said to be rigid one and so far since its inception has only 26 amendments.

However, by judicial interpretations it has been amended on various occasions. No progressive nation can ever tolerate a rigid constitution. If the methods of formal amendment prove too cumbersome, it will find alternative machinery of change.

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In this connection, it may be interesting to note that the enactment of Indian Constitution of 1950 has blurred the line of demarcation between flexible and rigid constitutions. Indian Constitution ‘makes provision for flexibility where needed and rigidity where desirable.’

A number or provisions of the Indian Constitution ‘makes provision for flexibility where needed and rigidity where desirable.’ A number of provisions of the Indian Constitution can be amended by the same procedure as ordinary law. But some important provisions of the Constitution like Fundamental Rights, Distribution of Powers, Judiciary, etc. call for a special procedure for amendment. Thus it is difficult to label Indian Constitution as rigid or flexible procedures.

All extremely rigid constitution is as defective as an extremely flexible constitution. Both have their merits and demerits. Hence, modern scholars suggest a middle path. To quote Laski, “We need to avoid the unlimited authority of Parliament, on the one hand, and the unique inaccessibility of the American Constitution to amendment on the other. A written constitution which may be amended by a two-thirds majority of the legislature supplies an adequate via-media.”

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