· The preamble to the Constitution of India is a brief introductory statement that sets out the guiding purpose and principles of the document. The preamble can be referred to as the preface which highlights the essence of the entire Constitution. It was adopted on 22 January 1947 by the Constituent Assembly.
· It is based on the Objectives Resolution which was drafted and moved in the Constituent Assembly by Jawaharlal Nehru on 13 December 1946.
· As originally enacted the preamble described the state as a "sovereign democratic republic". In 1976 the Forty-second Amendment changed this to read "sovereign socialistsecular democratic republic"
Text of the Preamble
These are the opening words of the preamble to the Indian Constitution
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.
· Word Liberty, Equality & Fraternity were the idea from French Revolution while words Social & Economic were the idea taken from Russian Revolution.
Meaning of Keywords in The Preamble-
Sovereign: The word sovereign means supreme or independence. India is internally and externally sovereign - externally free from the control of any foreign power and internally, it has a free government which is directly elected by the people and makes laws that govern the people.
Socialist: The term socialist was added to the Preamble by the Forty-second Amendment. Even before the addition of term, the socialist essence could be found in the Directive Principles of State Policy. The term implies social and economic equality among the people.
Secular: The Government respects all religions. It does not uplift or degrade any particular religion. There is no such thing as a state religion for India. In S.R. Bommai vs UOI (1994) The SC of India held "A state which does not recognise any religion as the state religion, it treats all religions equally.
Democratic: The people of India elect their governments at all levels (Union, State and local) by a system of universal adult franchise; popularly known as "one man one vote".
Republic: A democratic republic is an entity in which the head of state is elected, directly or indirectly, for a fixed tenure. The President of India is elected by an electoral college for a term of five years.
Justice: The term 'justice' in the preamble refers to three varying aspects - Political, Social and Economic which are secured through different provisions of Fundamental Rights &Directive Principles of State Policy.
Liberty: The ideal of Liberty refers to the freedom on the activities of Indian nationals. All the citizens are secured with liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith & worship through the Fundamental Rights which are justiciable in nature. However, liberty does not mean freedom to do anything, and it must be exercised within the constitutional limits.
Equality: This envisages that no section of the society enjoys special privileges and individuals are provided with adequate opportunities without any discrimination. Again, there are three dimensions of Equality - Polical, Economic & Civic.
Fraternity: This refers to a feeling of brotherhood & a sense of belonging with the country among its people.
Do you know:
That the preamble is not an integral part of the Indian constitution was declared by the Supreme Court of India in BeruBari case therefore it is not enforceable in a court of law. However, Supreme Court of India has, in the Kesavananda case, overruled earlier decisions and recognised that the preamble may be used to interpret ambiguous areas of the constitution where differing interpretations present themselves. In the 1995 case of Union Government Vs LIC of India also, the Supreme Court has once again held that Preamble is the integral part of the Constitution.