Definition, Advantages And Disadvantages and Rigid Constitution

Meaning of Rigid Constitution

A rigid constitution is a constitution that is very difficult to change or amend. The procedures for altering a rigid constitution are complex and require a high threshold of approval.

A rigid constitution is characterized as being highly resistant to change and requires specific procedures for any amendments. Many written constitutions fall into this category, including those of the U.S.A, Ghana, Nigeria (such as the 1979/1983 2nd Republic constitution and the 1999-2003 Fourth Republic constitution), and Australia.



Some key features of a rigid constitution:

  • It requires a supermajority vote to pass any amendments. This means more than a simple 51% majority, usually a 2/3 or 3/4 vote is needed.
  • It may require amendments to be approved by multiple bodies, such as the legislature and special ratifying conventions.
  • It could mandate that amendments pass votes in multiple sessions over multiple years.
  • It may also outline specific subject areas where amendments are prohibited entirely.

The intention behind having a rigid constitution is to promote stability and continuity in the fundamental laws and structures of government. A rigid constitution makes dramatic change difficult and forces broad consensus for any alterations. This prevents short-term political pressures from frequently modifying the constitution.

The opposite would be a flexible constitution, which can be amended through normal legislative procedures. Flexible constitutions allow for more evolution, but critics argue they lack solid foundations. Most modern constitutions have elements of both rigidity and flexibility.

In summary, a rigid constitution is purposefully hard to change, requiring extreme supermajority support over multiple stages. This ensures continuity and stability in a nation’s fundamental legal structures.

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Benefits or advantages of a Rigid constitution

  1. In order to ensure the protection of individual rights, people are typically given sufficient consideration when attempting to bring about a change.
  2. A rigid constitution allows for political stability within a nation due to the established process for making amendments to the constitution.
  3. It greatly diminishes the presence of violent or revolutionary intent to its lowest level possible.
  4. The rigid or strict process of amending something serves as a precaution against making quick decisions. It ensures that issues are thoroughly analyzed before any actions are undertaken.
  5. A Rigid constitution hinders unethical politicians from manipulating the constitution for personal or specific purposes.


Disadvantages  or Drawbacks of a Rigid Constitution

  1. It hinders the process of speedy development and progress.
  2. Rigid constitutions are not easily altered or open to new ideas.
  3. Constitutions that are inflexible are not receptive to modifications and advancements.
  4. Having rigid constitutions can be costly as they require significant amounts of time and energy to maintain.
  5. When a change occurs, a significant amount of money and time is utilized for conducting references.