Difference Between Written and Unwritten Constitution

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

The salient difference between written and unwritten constitution is that the written constitution has all the rules and provisions in encrypted and documented form, whereas an unwritten constitution it is not drafted in a structured way. Constitution is the embodiment of the doctrines and principles of the country on the basis of which the rules are executed and lead to efficient governance. Another remarkable difference between written and unwritten constitution is that in written constitution, it embodies and possesses the supreme power, while in countries that have an unwritten constitution, the parliament possesses the supreme powers.

Difference Between Written and Unwritten Constitution PDF

A remarkable example of the written constitution is the Indian constitution, which has encrypted and coded provisions efficiently. The written constitution handovers the high responsibility to the judiciary to protect the fundamentals of the constitution. An exceptional example of the unwritten constitution is the Magna Carter. King John signed the convention of rights in England. The article describes the types of constitution, their meaning, significance and the difference between written and unwritten constitution.

Difference Between Written and Unwritten Constitution

Both types of constitutions have their own importance. It is said that the written constitution is the country’s supreme law. Whereas the unwritten constitution is referred to as the set of customs, rules, and traditions.

Here is the table illustrating the difference between written and unwritten constitutions. Acknowledging the differences will also lead the aspirants to get well-versed in the concept of written and unwritten constitution.

Written vs Unwritten Constitution

Difference Between Written And Unwritten Constitution

Written Constitution

Unwritten Constitution

The constitution has supreme rights over the state and national affairs.

The parliament has supreme rights.

Cohesive in nature and can be referred to when in doubt.

It is unstructured.

The Constitution of San Marino is the world’s oldest written constitution.

Magna Carta is the oldest unwritten constitution.

Ideal for democracy

Ideal for Monarchy

Brazil, Australia, India, France, and the USA are some countries with a well-drafted written constitution.

Unwritten Constitution countries include the UK, New Zealand, and Israel.

Written and Unwritten Constitution

A Constitution is a system of statutes and declarations that form a country’s management basis. There are two types of constitutions – Written and Unwritten Constitution. An example of Written Constitution is the Indian constitution, while an example of Unwritten Constitution is the Magna Carter. Read further to know what is Written Constitution and Unwritten Constitution.

What is Written Constitution?

The written constitution is a well-drafted and documented structure mentioning the rights, provisions and doctrines of the country. It possesses the supreme power in the nation, and the judiciary possesses more authority to ensure the supremacy of the constitution. The United States Of America possesses the oldest written constitution.

Constitution of India – An Example of Written Constitution

The Indian Constitution is a powerful historical legacy of India’s freedom struggle. As a nation of diverse cultures, India is one of the few countries with a written constitution. This document is one of the world’s most important and revered constitutions.

  • Free speech is one of the most important areas of any constitution, and India is no different.
  • The Indian Constitution not only protects the freedom of speech in the media but also gives people the right to protest in public, speak out against the government, and criticize other people and groups.

Features of Indian Constitution

The Constitution provides religious freedom for all the citizens of India, regardless of their caste, creed, or gender. It also guarantees equal opportunities and equal rights for everyone. Check out the facts of the Indian Constitution as enlisted here.

  • It was drafted by the Constituent Assembly, a specially elected body of representatives elected from the provinces of British India.
  • The Constituent Assembly adopted it in New Delhi on November 26, 1949, and it went into effect on January 26, 1950.
  • In three phases, the Constituent Assembly worked on the Constitution for nearly three years.
  • The Constitution of India is uncodified or partly codified.
  • It is the longest-written constitution of any sovereign country in the world.
  • It has been amended by the Constitution (44th Amendment) Act, 1978, which inserted two Articles, namely Article 31C and Article 31D, in the Constitution.
  • The Constitution of India has several provisions with regard to the Fundamental Rights, the Directive Principles of State Policy, and the Basic Structure of the Constitution.

What is Unwritten Constitution?

An unwritten constitution is considered to be adopted when the fundamental principles of a constitution are developed through customs and conventions. However, it has not been formally enacted as a written document. It is also referred to as a deep Constitution or living Constitution.


Key Difference Between Written and Unwritten Constitution

The key Difference Between Written and Unwritten Constitution is that Written Constitution has been appropriately formulated and assembled in a step-by-step manner, whereas an Unwritten Constitution develops over an extended time with a new collection of rules.

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