Preamble

Introduction:

We have always a “brief Introduction” or “Preface” for any important book. Similarly, our Indian Constitution have Preamble which contains the brief summary or we may say actual essence of our Constitution. India has not borrowed the concept of Preamble from any other country, but America was first country who adopted Preamble for his written constitution.

In 1930 , Pandit Moti Lal Nehru drafted & moved India’s First Constitution along with ‘Objective Resolution’ which was later adopted by Constituent assembly. Our Preamble is based on “Objective Resolution”.

Constitutional Provisions:

“We, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens:

JUSTICE, Social, Economic and Politi­cal;

LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;

EQUALITY of status and of opportunity; and to promote among them all; FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation:

IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this twenty-sixth day of November, 1949, do HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTI­TUTION”.

Important Provisions (to be remember)

  1. Remember all words in same pattern as “SSSDR JuLi Eq Fr” [Sri Sri Sri DrJuli  disseminates the Equality very Fr (Far) away.]
  2. In SSS, we may remember as:  India first fought for his “Sovereignty”, then tried to adopted for “Socialist Approach” (after Gandhiji Introduction to India) and finally created a land for people of all religions (secular) to  bring unity & intergrity.
  3. Justice – borrowed from Russia and ; Liberty, Equality & Fraternity – borrowed from France.
  4. Preamble was approved alongwith Indian Constitution on 26th Nov 1949 but it became applicable on 26th January 1950.
  5. Preamble is part of Indian Constitution after case of “Union of India vs Keshvanand Bharati.
  6. Amendment to preamble would be through Article 368 and that become possible after Keshvanand Bharati case. Till date only one (1) amendment to Preamble has been introduced as 42th Amendment to Indian Constitution in 1976. In this amendment, three words were added – socialist, secular and integrity.

Components of the Preamble:

It is not written directly to Indian Constitution or Preamble for its components. But after reading the , It is derived from Indian that it has four components:

    • Source of authority of the Constitution: The Preamble states that the Constitution derives its authority from the people of India.
    • Nature of Indian State: It declares India to be of a sovereign, socialist, secular democratic and republican polity.
    • Objectives of the Constitution: It speci­fies justice, liberty, equality and frater­nity as the objectives.
    • Date of adoption of the Constitution: It stipulates November 26, 1949 as the date. 

KEY WORDS IN THE PREAMBLE

Certain key words—Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic, Republic, Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity—are explained as follows:

1. Sovereign

The dictionary meaning of ‘sovereign’ is an independent State, which is free from shackles of other countries’ dependency and dominance. That Country is free to choose his relation with other countries and free to conduct both internal & external affairs. That Sovereign does not mean that India cannot member of other Organizations like WTO, IMF, World Bank (as they have own rules and member countries are bound to obey those rules). It is assume that these organizations are working in the field of intergrity & Unity of all nations. So, it is duty of all the countries to live in peaceful way. Similarly, In 1949, India does not give off their membership to Commonwealth  of Nations and  accepted the British Crown as the head of the Commonwealth. because this membership does not affect India’s sovereignty in any manner.

2. Socialist

This term was added as 42nd Amendment to Indian Constitution in 1976. During the independence, India was in favour of ‘democratic socialism’ and not a ‘communistic socialism’. Both have different meaning: “Democratic socialism” means a country where mixed economy exist and have existence all public & private players. “Communistic Socialism” means a country where all the production & distribution be in hands of Government and abolition of all rules related to private property.

Before 42nd Amendment, Indian Constitution contains Socialist content and that is part Direc­tive Principles of State Policy. The Directive Principle of State policy talked about both Marxism Socialist as well as Gandhian Socialist  and it is more toward Gandhian Socialism. The new economic policy (1991) of Liberalization, Privatization and Globalization (LPG) has, however, diluted the socialist credentials of the Indian State. 

3. Secular

This term was also added as 42nd Amendment to Indian Constitution in 1976. Dictionary meaning of “Secular” is where all religions have equal respect. Article 25 to 28  of Indian Constitution (guaranteeing the fundamental right to freedom of religion) talked about freedom of religions. and even in 1974, Hon’ble Supreme Court mentioned that “there can be no doubt that Constitution-mak­ers wanted to establish such a state and ac­cordingly Articles 25 to 28  have been included in the constitution.”

4.Democratic

The term ‘democratic’ is used in the Pre­amble in the broader sense contains all Economic, Social and political democracy. Democratic means possession of supreme power in hands of people. The government is for people, of people and by  people.

Democracy is of two types—direct and in­direct.

      1. In direct democracy, the people exer­cise their supreme power directly as is the case in Switzerland. There are four devices of di­rect democracy, namely, Referendum, Initia­tive, Recall and Plebiscite”’.
      2. In indirect democracy (also called Representative democracy), the representa­tives elected by the people exercise the su­preme power and thus carry on the government and make the laws. Further they are of two type:Parliamentary and Presidential.

The Indian Constitution provides for “rep­resentative parliamentary democracy” under which the executive is responsible to the legislature for all its policies and actions. 

5. Republic

A republic also means two more things: one, vesting of political sovereignty in the people and not in a single individual like a king; sec­ond, the absence of any privileged class and hence all public offices being opened to every citizen without any discrimination.

The above “democratic” have two type of categories – Monarchy and Republic.

      1. In a Mon­archy, the head of the state (usually king or queen) enjoys a hereditary position, that is, he comes into office through succession like in Britain.
      2. In a Republic, the Head of the state is always elected directly or indi­rectly for a fixed period and India has an elected head called the president. He is elected indirectly for a fixed period of five years.

6. Justice

The ideal of justice—social, economic and political—has been taken from the Russian Revolution (1917). Preamble contains Justice and which is further in terms of social, economic and po­litical.

      1. Social justice denotes the equal treatment of all citizens without any social distinction based on caste, colour, race, religion, sex and so on. It means absence of privileges being extended to any particular section of the soci­ety, and improvement in the conditions of back­ward classes (SCs. STs and OBCs) and women.
      2. Economic justice denotes the non-discrimi­nation between people on the basis of economic factors. It involves the elimination of glaring in­equalities in wealth, income and property.
      3. Political justice implies that all citizens should have equal political rights, equal ac­cess to all political offices and equal voice in the government.

7. Liberty 

The last three words i.e. liberty, equality and fraternity in our Preamble have been taken from the French Revolution (1789-1799).

The Preamble secures liberty of thought, expression. belief, faith and worship to all the citizens of India. All these are part of Fundamental Rights so in case of violation of these, Court of Law shall enforce the same without delay. Liberty is considered very essential for the appropriate functioning of the Indian democratic system. However, Liberty does not mean that anyone works/functions according to its like & dislike but there are proper guidelines, interpretation and restrictions mentioned in Indian Constitution for Liberty. It means Liberty meaning is not absolute as per dictionary meaning.

8. Equality

The last three words i.e. liberty, equality and fraternity in our Preamble have been taken from the French Revolution (1789-1799).

The Preamble secures equality of status and opportunity to all citizens of In­dia.  Here Equality means to provide equal opportunity to all citizens of India rather than special provisions to some sections of society. Even through Fundamental Rights Articles 14 to 18 clearly describe and helps to create equality among all citizens of India. This fundamental Right is for Civic Equality and for Political Equality, adult suffrage (Article 326), election to Lok Sabha, State Assemblies. These all brings equality among all citizens of India.

Fundamental Rights includes following Articles:

    • Equality before the law (Article 14).
    • Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth (Article 15).
    • Equality of opportunity in matters of pub­lic employment (Article 16).
    • Abolition of Untouchability (Article 17).
    • Abolition of titles (Article 18).

9. Fraternity

The last three words i.e. liberty, equality and fraternity in our Preamble have been taken from the French Revolution (1789-1799).

Fraternity means a sense of brotherhood. The Constitution promotes this feeling of fraternity by the system of single citizenship. Also, the Fundamental Duties (Article 51-A) say that it shall be the duty of every citizen of India to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic, regional or sectional diversities.

The Preamble declares that fraternity has to assure two things—the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the nation. The word ‘integrity’ has been added to the pre­amble by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment (1976).

The phrase ‘unity and integrity of the nation’ embraces both the psychological and territorial dimensions of national integration. Article 1 of the Constitution describes India as a ‘Union of States’ to make it clear that the states have no right to secede from the Union, implying the indestructible nature of the Indian Union.

It aims at overcoming hindrances to national integration like communalism, regionalism, easteism, linguism, secessionism and so on.

IS PREAMBLE PART OF THE CONSTITUTION ?

One of the controversies about the Preamble is as to whether it is a part of the Constitution or not. In the Berubari Union case (1960). the Supreme Court said that the Preamble shows the general purposes behind the several provi­sions in the Constitution. and is thus a key to the minds of the makers of the Constitution. Further, where the terms used in any article are ambiguous or capable of more than one meaning, some assistance at interpretation may be taken from the objectives enshrined in the Preamble. Despite this recognition of the significance of the Preamble, the Supreme Court specifically opined that Preamble is not a part of the Constitution.

In the Kesavananda Bharati case” (1973), the Supreme Court rejected the earlier opinion and held that Preamble is a part of the Consti­tution. It observed that the Preamble is of ex­treme importance and the Constitution should be read and interpreted in the light of the grand and noble vision expressed in the Preamble. In the DC of India ease” (1995) also, the Su­preme Court again held that the Preamble is an integral part of the Constitution.

Like any other part of the Constitution, the Preamble was also enacted by the Constituent Assembly, but, after the rest of the Constitu­tion was already enacted. The reason for in­serting the Preamble at the end was to ensure that it was in conformity with the Constitution as adopted by the Constituent Assembly. While forwarding the Preamble for votes, the presi­dent of the Constituent Assembly said, ‘The question is that Preamble stands part of the Constitutiond°. The motion was then adopted. Hence, the current opinion held by the Supreme Court that the Preamble is a part of the Constitution, is in consonance with the opin­ion of the founding fathers of the Constitution. However, two things should be noted:

  1. The Preamble is neither a source of power to legislature nor a prohibition upon the powers of legislature.
  2. It is non-justiciable, that is, its provisions are not enforceable in courts of law.

AMENDABILITY OF THE PREAMBLE

In Berubari Union (1960) Case, it was stated that Preamble cannot be amended. However, in Kesavananda Bharaii (1973) case, it was argued that Preamble is not part of Constitution and so no such rules (Article 368) are applicable to Preamble. Because it shall change the basic feature of Indian Constitution. So Preamble cannot be amended.

The Supreme Court, however, held that the Preamble is a part of the Constitution  and can be amended, subject to the condition that no amendment is done to the `basic features’.

In other words, the Court held that the basic ele­ments or the fundamental features of the Con­stitution as contained in the Preamble cannot he altered by an amendment under Article 368.

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