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preamble to the constitution of india

The Preamble to the constitution of India sets out the philosophy on which the political system of our country resets, it clearly establishes the main objectives of the Indian constitution. Constitution of America was the first constitution in the world, to begin with, a preamble. India, like some other countries, also followed this practice.

 

preamble-of-the-constitution

The Preamble

The Preamble to the constitution of India is based on the objective resolution, drafted and moved by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and passed by the constituent assembly, As observed by the supreme court of India, the preamble is a key to unravel the minds of the makers of the constitution.

The preamble to the constitution of India embodies the ideals and aspirations of the people of India.

The preamble to the constitution of India also contains the enacting clause, which brings the constitution into force.

It has been amended by the 42nd constitutional amendment act (1976), which added three new words socialist, secular, and integrity. Like the Directive Principle Of State policy, the preamble is also non-justiciable in nature and cannot be enforced in a court of law. It does not provide definite and real power to the three organs of the state (Legislature, Executive, and Judiciary), nor limits their powers under the provisions of the constitution.

Components of the Preamble

The preamble shows the following four ingredients or components

Source of the authority of constitution: 

The preamble states that the constitution derives its authority from the people of India.

Date of adoption of the constitution: 

It stipulates 26th November 1949 was the date of the adoption of the constitution.

Nature of Indian state: 

It states that India is a Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic, and Republican states.

Objectives of the constitution: 

It specifies Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity is the objective of the Indian constitution.


Can the preamble be amended??

In the historic Kesavananda Bharti case (1973), honorable supreme court  overturned its earlier view (as opined in Berubari Case), and held that the Preamble to the constitution of India can be amended under Article 368, subject to the condition that no amendment is done to the basic features.

The Preamble to the constitution of India has been amended only once so far, in 1976, by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act, which has added three new words - socialist, secular, and integrity to the preamble. This amendment was held to be valid as it was assumed that these amendments are clarifying and qualifying in nature. They are already implicit in the preamble.


Terms used in Preamble

Sovereign

Sovereignty is the characteristic of the state. It emphasizes that there is no authority inside or outside India on which the country is in any way dependent. It has a free government, which is directly elected by the people and makes laws that govern the people. Popular sovereignty is also one of the basic structures of the constitution of India. People have the supreme right to make decisions. No external power can dictate the Government of India.

Indian parliament is not sovereign as ours is a federal country where the powers of parliament are restricted and shared with the states. Also, laws made by the parliament are subjected to the provisions of the constitution, which means that laws not in conformity with the constitution are not valid. In our country, the constitutional validity of any law is decided by the supreme court. Though, India is a member of various organizations like the Commonwealth, United Nations, etc, but it is in no way constitutes a limitation on her sovereignty.

Socialist

The word socialist was added to the preamble by the 42nd amendment act in 1976, but even before that the constitution had socialistic elements in the form of the Directive Principle of State Policy.

India has adopted Democratic Socialism, which is different from Communist Socialism. Our aim is to minimize inequality and try to achieve a socialistic pattern of society through democratic means. Distributive justice is a part of a socialistic pattern of development, since 1991, we have allowed a greater role to the market forces through the New Economic Policy, 1991, but our constitutional goal still remains the same, i.e., to provide distributive justice through democratic means.

Secular

In the Indian context, secular the state does not mean that India is non-religious or irreligious or anti-religious, but simply means that the state in itself is not religious (separation of religion from politics) and follows the ancient Indian principle of Sarva Dharma Samabhava. It also means that the state shall not discriminate against the citizens in any way based on religion; it is equidistant from all the religions.

This is ensured in particular by two articles in the part on Fundamental Rights. While Article 15 prohibits discrimination by the state on several grounds including religion, Article 16 ensures equality of opportunity for all in public employment without discrimination on grounds such as religion.

All individuals in our country are free to practice the religion of their choice. The state regards religion to be the private affair of a person including the right to believe or not to believe in a religion. The term secular too was added by the 42nd amendment act.

Democratic

A democratic political system is one, which beliefs in popular sovereignty. Democracy is basically of two types: Direct and Indirect democracy.  Direct democracy is a form of government, in which people vote on policy initiatives directly, as opposed to a representative who then votes on policy initiatives. There are four devices of direct democracy i.e., Referendum, Initiatives, Recall and Plebiscite.

Our country follows a system of Representative Democracy, where the MPs and MLAs are elected directly by the people. Through 73rd and 74th Constitutionals Amendment Acts, 1992, efforts are being made to take democracy to the grassroots through Panchayats and Municipalities. Preamble envisages not only political democracy but also social and economic democracies.

Republic

Democracy is of two types, namely, Republic and Monarchy. Unlike Britain, India is a republic, which means that there exists no hereditary ruler in India and all the authorities of the state are directly or indirectly elected by the people. India has an elected head called the President. He /She is elected indirectly for a fixed tenure of five years.


Cases Related to Preamble

·        Berubari Union Case (1960): Supreme court held that preamble is not a part of the constitution.

·        Kesavananda Bharti Case (1973): Supreme court held that preamble is a part of the constitution.

·        SR Bommai Case(1993): Regarding the dismissal of three BJP governments in states of Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh, Justice Ramaswamy observed that the Preamble to the constitution of India is an integral part of the constitution.

·        LIC of India Case(1995): Supreme court again held that the preamble is an integral part of the constitution.


Value Enshrined in Preamble

The Preamble to the constitution of India states that the objectives to be secured for every citizen are

Justice

Indian constitution aims for three kinds of justice i.e., social, economic, and political. Political justice in India is guaranteed by universal adult suffrage without any sort of qualification. Social justice means the absence of discrimination on the grounds of caste, religion, color. creed, sex, language. It is ensured by abolishing any title of honor (Article 18) and untouchability (Article 17). Economic justice means non-discrimination between people on economic grounds. It also means the removal of economic inequality. It is guaranteed primarily through the directive principles. The idea of justice has been taken from Russian Revolution.

Liberty

It is the bulwark of democracy. Our constitution provides liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith, and worship. Liberty is an essential attribute of a free society that helps in the fullest development of the mental and spiritual abilities of an individual. The Indian constitution guarantees six types of democratic freedoms to individuals under Article 19 and the Right to Freedom of Religion under Article 25 to 28. However, liberty does not mean that an individual is free to do whatever he wants, but he has to enjoy his rights within constitutional limits. The ideals of liberty, equality, fraternity have been taken from the French Revolution.

Equality

The Preamble to the constitution of India mentions two types of equality i.e., Equality of Status and Equality of Opportunity. The fruits of liberty cannot be fully realized until there is an equality of status and opportunity. As per Article 15 of our constitution, any discrimination by the state only based on religion, caste, sex, or place of birth, is illegal. We have also abolished untouchability (Article 17) and titles of honor (Article 18). However, the parliament has passed certain laws for the SCs, STs, OBCs, to bring them, thus far neglected sections of society into the national mainstream.

Fraternity

It as enshrined in the constitution means a sense of brotherhood prevailing amongst all the sections of the people. This is sought to be achieved by making the state secular, guaranteeing fundamental and other rights equally to people of all sections, and protecting their interests. However, fraternity is an evolving process and by the 42nd Amendment, the word Integrity was added, thus giving it a broader meaning.


Small facts

·        KM Munshi termed the Preamble to the constitution of India as the political horoscope.

·        Earnest Barker called it the key to the constitution.

·        Thakurdas Bhargava recognized it as the Soul of the Constitution.

·      The Preamble to the constitution of India was enacted by the constituent assembly after the rest of the constitution was already enacted so that it remains in conformity with the rest of the provisions of the constitution.

  

Also Read:

Right to equality

Citizenship of India

Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression   

 

 

 

 


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