Obligation and responsibilities of modern state of today with reference to British Constitutional law

  • Introduction:

The modern term “State” is derived from the word “Status”. The state is the highest form of human association. It is necessary because it comes into existence out of the basic needs of life. It continues to

  • Meaning of State:

In literal sense state means, “the organized community” The term state is derived from the word “Status” it was Niccole Machiavelli, who first used the term state in writings

  • Definition:

Different jurists have defined state in the following words

(i) Wooddraw Wilson:

“A state is a people organized for law within a definite territory”.

(ii) Holland:

The numerous assemblage of human beings, which generally occupies a certain territory and amongst whom the will of the majority or class is made to prevail against any of their number, who opposes, it.

 (iii) Salmond:

“State is a society of men established for the maintenance of order and justice within a determined territory by way of force”.

 (iv) Gattell:

“State is a community of persons, which permanently occupies a definite territory is legally independent of external control and possesses organized government which creates and administers law over all persons and groups within its jurisdictions”.


  • Elements of the state:

State has four basic elements:

(i) Population

(ii) Territory

(iii) Government

(iv) Sovereignty


i) Population:

Population is considered physical base of the state as it is the people who make the state therefore population is the main element of the state. Wandering people cannot constitute population which is necessary for state. Only settled people can make such population.

ii) Territory:

As people need territory to live and organize themselves socially and politically therefore territory is considered as element of state territory of state includes land, water, and air space. No definite size of territory of state can be fixed. Therefore states differ in their sizes and there can be large and small size.

iii) Government:

There can be no state without Government, therefore Government is considered as an element of state. Government is actually a working agency of state. In short it is machinery to carry on administration of state.

iv) Sovereignty:

No state can exist without sovereignty and therefore it is the fourth basic element of the state. It is the sovereignty which distinguishes the state from the government. State is considered superior to other associations only because of sovereignty.


Obligation and Responsibilities of Modern State:

Salmond divides the functions of the modern state into two main parts.

  1. Primary of essential functions
  2. Secondary functions

1) Primary or Essential Functions:

The famous jurist Hobbes explained the functions of the state by giving an example of leviathan Hobbes said that “Leviathan had two swords, one for war and other for Justice” The essential obligation or responsibility are these from which the state cannot deny some of the essential obligations and responsibilities of the state are as followings.

 (a) Law and Order:

It is the main obligation of the modern state to maintain the law and order in society. It is must for the state to establish a organized system of order within which people of the state can carried on their activities.

(b) Defence:

The fundamental purpose and end of political society is defense against external enemy. A state which can not protect their people from external enemies are no longer able to govern their people.

 (c) International Relations:

In today’s modern era no state can survive without strong relations with other countries. It is the essential obligation of the state to make strong relationships with other developed countries. This step can protect the state from external threats and external political control.

 (d) Justice:

It there is injustice in the state it can ruined everything. It is the basic obligation of the modern state to administer the justice and help individuals to maintain their rights in society. As the famous Latin maxim is “Justice delayed is Justice denied” and it fully applies on every state.


2. Secondary Functions of a Modern State:

A regarding secondary functions of a modern state they are as followings.

  • Economical Planning:

A prospers society forms a developed modern state. So is is the secondary obligation of a state to make their industries strong and help them to grow more and more. Increase the import and export provide jobs to jobless educated people, pay special attentions on poor and needy people and make strong planning for them, and inflation.

  • Health and Education:

A modern and responsible state pay special attention to provide better and quality education and basic necessitation for health care. Although it is in secondary function of the state but it is necessary for the state to consider it compulsory and make sure that they are providing healthy and educated life to their peoples.

  • Welfare of Society:

Every modern state work for the welfare of the society. To help poor needy people of the society and make their life better and easier is the main obligation of the society.

  • Other Different Obligations:

All other forms of obligation are for some reasons deemed to be fit to be undertaken by the state. Such forms of activities may vary with the same government from time to time and among different governments. Carriage of mails, transportations supply of water and electricity, scientific research, agriculture, war against corruption grounds that the state represents the whole nation and possess power of coercion

(4) Conclusion:

To conclude it can be stated that the state is the most universal and powerful of all social institutions. The state is actually the organized community. And a modern state of today specially with reference to British constitutional law administer law and order and justice in society and the aims desires and aspirations of human beings are translated into action through the modern state.



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