Understanding the Constitution – A country that adheres to the concept of constitutionalism is a state system that makes the constitution the embodiment of the highest law. Indonesia is a country that adheres to that belief. As stated in the Constitution of 1945, article 1 paragraph 2, which states that sovereignty rests in the hands of the people and is implemented in accordance with the Constitution.
The understanding of constitutionalism can be defined as an understanding that adheres to the principle that the embodiment of the highest law that must be obeyed by all components of the country, including the people and the government, is the constitution. Constitutionalism can be used as an integral component of a country that adheres to a democratic system. That is the basis on which a democratic government system will not be possible without the implementation of constitutionalism as the embodiment of the highest law.
Well, this article will discuss the meaning of the constitution comprehensively and in detail. The following is the meaning of the constitution that you need to understand, which is as follows:
A. Meaning of the Constitution
In a paper published by the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Indonesia with the title “Constitution and Constitutionalism”, the Professor of Law from Andalas University namely Professor Yuliandri revealed that constitution and constitutionalism are two forms of words that have a relationship and can confirm each other’s existence.
Constitutionalism itself is an understanding that is very necessary to be guarded through the formation of the constitution. It is the same as that the constitution is a means for the understanding of constitutionalism to be implemented in a country.
Professor Yuliandri explained in the book that the word constitution is a word that comes from the French language, namely constiture, which has the meaning of forming. The word constitute itself has the meaning of the formation of a country. Therefore, the constitution has a position as the highest form of law. The constitution itself can be formed from the thoughts of the country’s founders.
In the Indonesian national system, the founders of the country formed the 1945 Constitution as the Indonesian national constitution. The 1945 Constitution was the result of an agreement by the founders of the Republic of Indonesia who came from various regional backgrounds and various disciplines. The 1945 Constitution can be said to have been born through a democratic mechanism with compromise from all parties.
Still quoting the opinion of Professor Yuliandri, the constitution contains basic provisions about institutions and powers that want to carry out the formal aspects or commonly called the authority of the state. Not only that, the constitution also contains basic provisions regarding power and institutions related to the existence of guarantees for material aspects or human rights.
Well, after understanding the description above, in simple terms, the meaning of the constitution can be understood as a basic law that can be used as a guideline in the implementation of national government. Next, we will discuss the meaning of the constitution according to the terms of a number of experts, as follows:
1. Understanding the Constitution According to LJ van Apeldoor
The Constitution is a basic law that includes Basic Laws such as written basic laws to unwritten basic laws or commonly referred to as conventions.
2. Understanding the Constitution According to ECS Wade
A constitution is a document that is capable of presenting the framework to the main tasks of a national government body while also determining various points in the body’s work guidelines.
3. Understanding the Constitution According to Jimly Asshidiqie
The Constitution is the Basic Law which is included in the legal hierarchy, occupies the highest position and has a fundamental nature, so that the making of various regulations under it cannot conflict with the Basic Law.
4. Meaning of the Constitution According to Miriam Budiarjo
A constitution is a charter that contains a statement about the ideals of a nation and as the basis of a nation’s organization.
5. Meaning of the Constitution According to KC, Wheare
Wheare expressed the opinion that the constitution is an entire system of governance of a region in the form of a group of various styles to form and manage the government of a country.
6. Understanding the Constitution According to Herman Heller
According to Herman Heller, the constitution can be divided into three meanings, which are as follows:
a. Sociological political constitution, which is a constitution that is a reflection of the political life of the population.
b. Juridical constitution, which is a constitution that is a unity of rules that live in society.
c. A political constitution, that is a constitution that can be embodied in written form and included in one of the manuscripts as a law.
7. Meaning of Constitution According to F. Lassalle
There are two definitions of the constitution according to F. Lasalle, among which are:
a. Juridically, the constitution is a text that contains various types of buildings and various types of government joints in a country.
b. Sociologically and politically, the constitution is a synthesis or final result of various factors that occur in a society. The constitution is an explanation of the relationship between the powers that exist in a country, such as the cabinet, parliament, political party, king, prime minister, and so on.
Based on various opinions from the experts that have been presented before, it can be concluded that the constitution has two meanings, namely in a narrow sense and in a broad sense.
First, in a narrow sense, the meaning of the constitution is that the Basic Law is a written basic law. The 1945 Constitution itself is a document that contains all the basic rules and provisions of a country’s constitutional system.
Second, in a broad sense, it can be concluded that the meaning of the constitution is a whole set of basic rules and provisions, both from the basic law that covers the written basic law to the unwritten basic law. The constitution also makes arrangements related to a government system that has been established in a country.
B. Types of Constitutions and Examples of Constitutions in Indonesia
In general, the constitution has 2 types based on its form. The two types of constitutions are written constitutions and unwritten constitutions.
Based on the Class VII Citizenship Education Module published by the Ministry of Education and Culture in 2017, it explains the 2 types of constitutions and their examples, as follows:
1. Written Constitution
The written constitution is a set of basic rules of the country, the building of the country and the constitution that govern the life of a nation within the legal federation of the country.
The following are some examples of written constitutions that have been used by the Indonesian state, among which are:
a. 1945 Constitution
b. RIS Constitution
c. Provisional Constitution
d. 1945 UUD Amendment Result
2. Unwritten Constitution
An unwritten constitution can also be called a convention. The convention itself has the meaning as a habit of the constitutional system that often exists in a country.
The following are some examples of written constitutions that have been used by the Indonesian state, among which are:
a. Decisions at the MPR are taken and decided based on deliberation by consensus.
b. The President’s speech at the DPR plenary session every August 16, 1945, and the President’s speech before the MPR held a session. The President as head of state has prepared the materials for the upcoming MPR general meeting.
C. Constitutional Functions
In his work, CF Strong argues that basically the principle of the function of the constitution is as something that limits the authority of action from the government. Not only that, the function of the constitution is to provide guarantees of rights to the ruled as well as formulating for the exercise of sovereign power.
1. Constitutional Functions in General
In general, the constitution has several functions, among them are:
a. The Constitution functions to provide limitations to the power of a government so that there is no government that acts arbitrarily so that the rights of citizens can be guaranteed, protected, and channelized.
b. The constitution has a function as a charter for the birth of a country
c. The Constitution has the function of being the highest source of law
d. The Constitution has a function as a tool to limit the power of a government
e. The Constitution has a function as a national identity and national symbol
f. The Constitution has a function as one of the ways to provide protection for human rights as well as a guarantee of freedom for the citizens of a country.
2. Functions of the Constitution According to Jimly Asshidiqie
Not only the opinion of CJ Strong, Jimly Asshidiqie as the head of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Indonesia from 2003 to 2008 also expressed his opinion about the constitution. According to Professor Jimly Asshidiqie there is 1 function of the constitution for a country. The following are 10 functions of the constitution that need to be known, among which are:
a. The constitution can function as a determinant and limiter of the power of a state organ
b. The constitution has a function as a regulator of power relations between state organs
c. The constitution has a function as a regulator of power relations between state organs and the people of the country
d. The constitution has a function as a giver or source of legitimacy to the power of the state or the exercise of power from the state
e. The constitution has the function of channeling or transferring the authority of the people or as the original source of power to state organs
f. The constitution has a function as a symbol of unifying efforts
g. The Constitution has a symbolic function to be a reference of national identity and greatness
h. The constitution has a symbolic function to be the center of ceremony (ceremony)
i. The constitution has a function as a means of controlling society. Both in a narrow sense only in the political field and in a broad sense that includes the social and economic fields
j The Constitution has a function as a means of engineering and reforming society. Both in a narrow sense and in a broad sense
D. Purpose of the Constitution
In addition to the functions of the constitution above, the constitution also has an important purpose to know. The following are the three objectives of the constitution in brief, among which are:
1. The Constitution aims to provide limitations as well as supervision over political power. This purpose serves to limit the power of the ruler so that he does not do actions that are detrimental to many people.
2. The Constitution aims to release control of power from self-control. It can also provide protection for human rights (HAM), so that with the existence of the constitution, every ruler and society must respect human rights and have the right to obtain protection in exercising their rights.
3. The Constitution aims to provide fixed limits for the rulers in exercising their powers. In addition to providing limitations for the ruler in exercising his authority, this also aims to provide guidelines for the administrators of the country so that the country can stand firmly.
E. Values from the Constitution
After understanding the meaning, types, up to the function and purpose of the constitution. Furthermore, the following are three values from the constitution, among which are:
1. Normative values are a constitution that is officially accepted by a nation. For a country, the constitution cannot only apply in a legal or legal sense. However, the constitution is also clearly applicable in a society in the sense of being effective and implemented in a consistent and pure manner.
2. Nominal value is a constitution that according to law remains valid. However, the constitution has an imperfect form. The imperfect constitution can be caused by some specific articles that do not apply or not all of the articles contained in the Constitution can apply to all regions of the country.
3. Semantic value is a constitution that can only apply to the interests of the ruler. The constitution can be a tool for those in power to mobilize power, it becomes a reason for exercising political power over its citizens.
Based on the discussion about the Constitution above, it can be concluded that the logical consequence of the establishment of a state or the formation of a new state is the existence of a constitution. The Constitution becomes the most important basis of a country and therefore obtains a very crucial and important position in creating a just and civilized constitutional life of a country.
The constitution and the state is a relationship between institutions that cannot be separated from one another. The existence of a country can actually be fulfilled if it has the following four elements, namely:
1. Fulfilling the elements of sovereign government,
2. Certain Territories
3. People who live united as a nation or nation, and
4. Recognition from other countries.
Of the four elements for the establishment of a country, it turns out that it is not enough to be used as a guarantee of the implementation of the functions of the state and sovereign government. The Constitution or the Basic Law can provide guarantees to the country to become the basic law in order to regulate the constitution of a country.
The relationship between the country’s policy and the constitution can be seen in a basic idea, goals and ideals of the country that are expressed in the opening of a country’s constitution. The national policy can also be used as a guideline for the administration of the country in writing and included in the constitution of a country. The constitution itself has the function of providing limitations on the authority of government actions. Furthermore, the constitution is used to guarantee all the rights of the governed and formulate the exercise of sovereign power.
In the discussion of the doctrine of separation of powers, the constitutional court obtains the authority to make arrangements in deciding authority disputes between state institutions. The constitutional court obtaining that authority through the granting of the 1945 Constitution is a consequence of the restructuring of the country’s institutions in an effort to purify the doctrine of the separation of powers.
In this doctrine of separation of powers, the People’s Consultative Assembly or MPR is no longer a symbol of the embodiment of people’s sovereignty. That implies that every state organ or institution has an aligned position. The parallel situation, provides openness to the opportunity for state organs or institutions to dispute related to the authority sourced from the Constitution.