PREAMBLE OF CONSTITUTION

PREAMBLE OF CONSTITUTION

BASICS OF PREAMBLE
  • Preamble of Indian constitution is preface or introduction that sets out the guiding purpose, principles and philosophy of the constitution.
NOTE – Preamble was enacted by the Constituent Assembly after the rest of the Constitution was already enacted to ensure its conformity with the Constitution.
  • Preamble contains the grand and noble vision of the Constituent Assembly, and reflects the dreams and aspirations of the founding fathers of the Constitution.
  • ‘Objectives Resolution’ drafted and moved by Pandit Nehru (Dec 13, 1946) serves as blueprint for Preamble to the Indian Constitution.
  • American Constitution was the first to begin with a preamble.
  • Preamble as the “identity card of the Constitution” – N.A. Palkhivala.
  • Explains the purposes and objectives of constitution and provides a guideline to the 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”.

 

PREAMBLE GIVES AN IDEA ABOUT THE FOLLOWING:
  • Source of the constitution – The people of India
  • Nature of Indian state – Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic, Republic.
  • Objectives – Justice, Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.
  • Date of its adoption – November 26, 1949
  • Preamble is neither a source nor a prohibition upon the powers of legislature.
  • It is non-justiciable – provisions are not enforceable in courts of law.

 

NATURE OF INDIAN STATE
We the people of India – Emphasizes that the constitution is made by and for the Indian people. It emphasizes the “concept of popular sovereignty” and entails all the power emanates from the people and the political system will be accountable and responsible to the people.

1.SOVEREIGN:

    • India is Externally Sovereign – free from the control of any foreign power
    • India is Internally Sovereignfree government which is directly elected by the people and makes laws that govern the people. No external power can dictate the government of India.

 

2.SOCIALIST:

    • Added by 42nd CAA 1976
    • “Socialism” as an economic philosophy – India adopted Mixed Economy.
    • Article 36 to 51(DPSP)- Underline the socialist leanings
    • Indian Socialism – democratic socialism; Unique blend of Gandhism and Marxism
    • Socialism as a social philosophy stresses more on societal equity and equality.
    • “Democratic socialism” aims to end poverty, ignorance, disease and inequality of opportunity, observed by Supreme Court.

 

3.SECULAR:

    • Added by 42nd CAA 1976
    • Positive concept – State will have no religion of its own and all persons will be equally entitled to the freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practice and propagate the religion of their choice (S R Bommai and Others vs Union of India)
    • Article 25-28(Fundamental Right to Freedom of Religion) – Highlight the secular character.
    • Constitutional basis – Preamble, Art. 14, 15, 16, 25-28, 29-30, 44, 325 etc.

 

4.DEMOCRATIC:

    • Constitution has established a form of Government which gets its authority from the will of the people – “Doctrine of popular sovereignty”
    • The rulers are elected by the people and are accountable to them.
    • Phrase ‘democratic’ – Political democracy and Socio-economic democracy.
    • Representative parliamentary democracy of India– Universal adult franchise, periodic elections, rule of law, independent judiciary, absence of discrimination on certain grounds.

 

5.REPUBLIC:

    • Democratic polity classified into two categories– monarchy and republic.
    • Democratic republic entails elected head of state – Directly or indirectly, for a fixed tenure – President of India indirectly elected for period of 5 years.
    • Article 54-55– related to the election of the President.

 

 

OBJECTIVES OF INDIAN STATE
  • Justice (Russian Revolution, 1917): Social, Economic and Political. This is achieved through Fundamental Rights & DPSPs.
  • Equality (French Revolution): Of status and opportunity.
    1. Civic Equality is guaranteed by the Fundamental Rights.
    2. Political Equality– By Article 325(non-discrimination in inclusion on electoral rolls) & Article 326(universal adult franchise)
    3. Economic Equality- Article 39 of DPSP
  • Liberty (French Revolution): Of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship. It is guaranteed through Article 19(Right to Freedom).
  • Fraternity (French Revolution): Assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the nation. Article 51A (Fundamental duties) were inserted specifically with the vision of fostering a sense of fraternity among the citizens.
B.R. AMBEDKAR OBSERVED –
  • Political democracy cannot last unless there lies at the base of its social democracy.
  • Social democracy – Way of life which recognizes liberty, equality and fraternity.
  • Union of trinity– Principles of liberty, equality and fraternity.
  • Divorce one from the other is to defeat the very purpose of democracy.
  • Without equality, liberty would produce the supremacy of the few over the many.
  • Equality without liberty, would kill individual initiative.
Phrase “dignity of the individual”– signifies that the Constitution not only ensures material betterment and maintain a democratic set-up, but it also recognizes that the personality of every individual is sacred – K.M Munshi

 

SIGNIFICANCE OF PREAMBLE
  • It is an important guide and serves as Guiding light to interpret the true spirit of the Constitution.
  • Helps in determining constitutional validity of legislative or an executive action.
  • Preamble is the ‘horoscope of our sovereign democratic republic’ – K.M. Munshi
  • Embodies the basic philosophy and fundamental values – political, moral and religious–on which the Constitution is based.
  • It is the soul of our Constitution, which lays down the pattern of our political society. It contains a solemn resolve, which nothing but a revolution can alter – M. Hidayatullah

 

AMENDMENT TO PREAMBLE
  • Till now, preamble has been amended only once in 1975.
  • Original preamble described the state as a “sovereign democratic republic”.
  • 42nd CAA 1976 changed this by adding words socialistand
  • Now it reads “sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic, republic”
  • Preamble may be amended subject to the basic structure of the constitution – Kesavananda Bharti (1973) case.

 

JUDICIAL PRONOUNCEMENTS – PREAMBLE AS PART OF CONSTITUTION OR NOT?
  • Berubari Union case (1960) – Although preamble assist at interpretation of constitution and key to the minds of the makers of the Constitution, Supreme Court specifically opined that Preamble is not a part of the Constitution.
  • Kesavananda Bharti case (1973) – Recognised extreme importance of Preamble and overruled its earlier decision (Berubari Case 1965) and asserted Preamble is a part of the constitution and it may be amended subject to the basic structure doctrine. Basic Structure doctrine evolved.
  • LIC of India Case (1995) – Upheld the Preamble and said that it is an integral part of the Constitution.
TERMINOLOGIES
  • Instruments of direct democracy – Referendum, Initiative, Recall and Plebiscite.
  • Referendum procedure wherein proposed legislation is referred to the electorate for settlement by their direct votes.
  • Initiative Method by means of which the people can propose a bill to the legislature for enactment.
  • Recall Method by means of which the voters can remove a representative or an officer before the expiry of his term, when he fails to discharge his duties properly.
  • Plebiscite Method of obtaining the opinion India’s of people on any issue of public importance. It is generally used to solve the territorial disputes.

 

PHRASES FOR MAINS
  • Social democracy – Liberty, Equality, Fraternity (Unity of Trinity)
  • Distributive justice – Social, Economic, Political.
  • “Concept of popular sovereignty”
  • Preamble as “Guiding light” for judicial interpretation
  • Democratic socialism – Unique blend of Gandhism and Marxism

Task: This is our Earlier Preamble. Can you find the new words that have been added now?