Conventions of Constitutions

  • Whether a constitution is written or unwritten, in its actual working several conventions always play a big role. Conventions can be defined as the unwritten rules of political morality or behaviour which are followed by successive power-holders/authorities for the sake of convenience or expediency.
  • Just as social relations are characterised by customs of the society, political relations in society are also characterised by political customs i.e. conventions.
  • Every convention originates as a practice which is adopted by the persons responsible for operationalizing the system or an institution.
  • Conventions are natural necessities for all laws because without conventions these cannot be operationalized and used in actual practice.
  • A constitution has to change with every major change in the environment in which it operates. Such changes can be easily brought about by conventions.
  • Conventions are natural to all constitutions. In particular, these are natural and essential for an unwritten and evolutionary constitution like the constitution of Britain.
  • Constitutional law is always rigid, definite and fixed. It can never really permit a mixture of two extreme forms of government like monarchy and democracy. Such a mixture can be made and used only with the help of conventions.

Conventions relating to British monarchy-
a) The monarch always acts upon the advice of the cabinet.
b) The monarch does not attend the meetings of the cabinet.
Major conventions of the US constitution-
a) The origin and development of cabinet- its organisation and working stands based entirely on conventions.
b) The credit for informally transforming the indirect election of president into a direct election belongs to conventions.
Some conventions of Indian constitution-
a) The governor of the state has to be from outside i.e. from another state, but exceptions are tolerated.
b) The president appoints the leader of the majority in the Lok Sabha as the prime minister.


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