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British Constitution :- Constitutional conventions (traditions)

Q1 What is the importance of constitutional conventions (traditions) in the British Constitution? OR Mention the main customs (traditions) of the British Constitution.


Answer: Laws play an important role in the governance of a country. In the absence of these, neither the governance system can remain stable nor the social system, the constitution is a compilation of those rules and laws, on the basis of which the government is conducted. Regardless of the state of the world, traditions and customs play an important role in its life and laws are mainly made on the basis of them. In this way, traditions and practices are very helpful in the making and development of the constitution. These rules of political conduct are called constitutional conventions.


Meaning of the Convention - Most of the British Constitution is unwritten, so its creation and development is mainly based on conventions. Dicey has termed these as 'Constitutional Practice', while John Stuart Mill calls them 'Recorded Rules' of the Constitution. Anson has used the term 'Constitutional Traditions' for this. Some of the major definitions of convention given by some scholars are as follows:


(1) Prof. According to Ogg, "Conventions consist of those conventions, habits or customs, which, yet being mere rules of political morality, regulate much of the day-to-day relations and activities of the largest public authorities."


(2) In the words of Dicey - "Conventions of the constitution are those customs or agreements according to which the sovereign legislature should exercise its discretionary rights of the various organs of the legislature, whether they are the prerogative of the society or of the Parliament. privilege . ,


(3) According to Feiner, “conventions are those rules of political conduct which are established not by statutes, judicial decisions or parliamentary conventions, but separately from them as supplementary to them for the fulfillment of their different purposes.


"Characteristics of the Convention - On analyzing the above definitions, the following characteristics of the Convention are revealed -

(1) Conventions are not created by Parliament, but are developed by customs. The customs which become permanent on the basis of their usefulness, they assume the form of convention.

(2) Conventions do not have legal power behind them, yet they are followed in the same manner as laws.

(3) People follow conventions because of their usefulness and the power of public opinion.


Difference between convention and law: Following differences are found between convention and law -

(1) The basis of conventions is morality. Their observance depends on the will of the individual, yet in practice it is often not possible to violate them. Due to the power of morality, people are bound to follow them. The power of the state lies behind the laws. For violating these, the person is liable to punishment.

(2) If a person does not comply with the conventions, then the court cannot be taken against him. Laws have the protection of the court. The person who violates these can take refuge in the court.

(3) Laws are written, whereas conventions are unwritten.

(4) Laws are made by the legislature by adopting a certain: Convergence is the result of the evolution of traditions. When a tradition proves to be practically useful, it becomes a convention. In spite of the above mentioned differences between laws and conventions, in practice the residents of England follow conventions "The conventions of the Constitution are not laws, but they have power just like laws because of this. According to Dicey, it is found that the person who violates them, in the end breaks the law and is punished for breaking the law.


"The main practices of the British Constitution - British Constitution Their practices can be mainly divided into three parts

1) Proceeds relating to the Emperor,

2) the practices relating to the cabinet and

3) Practices relating to Parliament.





1) Practices related to the emperor The practices related to the emperor have transformed the limited monarchy into a constitutional limited monarchy. These practices are as follows-

(1) The emperor does not use his powers according to his will but on the advice of the cabinet;

(2) The Emperor does not exercise his prerogative over bills passed by Parliament;

(3) The Emperor appoints the leader of the majority party in the House of Commons as the Prime Minister;

(4) On the resignation of the cabinet, the emperor invites the leader of the opposition party to form the government;

(5) The Emperor does not take part in the meetings of the Cabinet nor takes interest in the activities of any political party;

(6) The Emperor dissolves the House of Commons only on the advice of the Prime Minister and orders fresh elections.


2) The practices related to the cabinet- The following are the practices related to the cabinet-

(1) The institution of the cabinet is based on custom;

(2) In 1923, the practice was confirmed that the Prime Minister would be appointed from the Common House.

(3) The Cabinet is headed by the Prime Minister;

(4) The cabinet works as a unit and all its members are individually and collectively responsible for their actions;

(5) The Cabinet is responsible to the House of Commons and not to the House of Lords;

(6) On losing the confidence of the Common House, the Prime Minister has to resign his office.


3) Practices related to the House- Parliament also does some of its work on the basis of customs, such as-

(1) Parliament must meet once in a year;

(2) When the House of Lords functions as the Supreme Court, only the members of the Law take part in it;

(3) The Speaker of the House of Commons after his election retires from politics and may continue in office for as long as he pleases;

(4) A money bill is introduced only in the Common House;

(5) For any bill to be passed in both the houses, it must have three readings;

(6) The Prime Minister can get as many members appointed in the Lord's House as he wants.




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