Preamble of Indian Constitution | prasatavana

The American Constitution was the first to begin with a Preamble. Many countries, including India, followed this practice. The term ‘preamble’ refers to the introduction or preface to the Constitution. It contains the summary or essence of the Constitution. N A Palkhivala, an eminent jurist and constitutional expert, called the Preamble as the ‘identity card of the Constitution.’
The Preamble to the Indian Constitution is based on the ‘Objectives Resolution’, drafted and moved by Pandit Nehru, and adopted by the Constituent Assembly. It has been amended by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act (1976), which added three new words—socialist, secular and
integrity.

TEXT OF THE PREAMBLE
The Preamble in its present form reads:
“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”.
INGREDIENTS OF THE PREAMBLE
The Preamble reveals four ingredients or components:
1. Source of authority of the Constitution: The Preamble states that the Constitution derives its authority from the people of India.
2. Nature of Indian State: It declares India to be of a sovereign, socialist, secular democratic and republican polity.
3. Objectives of the Constitution: It specifies justice, liberty, equality and fraternity as the objectives.
4. 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 word ‘sovereign’ implies that India is neither a dependency nor a dominion of any other nation, but an independent state. There is no authority above it, and it is free to conduct its own affairs (both
internal and external).
Though in 1949, India declared the continuation of her full membership of the Commonwealth of Nations and accepted the British Crown as the head of the Commonwealth, this extra-constitutional declaration does not affect.
Being a sovereign state, India can either acquire a foreign territory or cede a part of its territory in favour of a foreign state.

2. Socialist
Even before the term was added by the 42nd Amendment in 1976, the Constitution had a socialist content in the form of certain Directive Principles of State Policy. 
Notably, the Indian brand of socialism is a ‘democratic socialism’ and not a ‘communistic socialism’ (also known as ‘state socialism’) which involves the nationalisation of all means of production and distribution and the abolition of private property. Democratic socialism, on the other hand, holds faith in a ‘mixed economy’ where both public and private sectors co-exist side by side. As the Supreme
Court says, ‘Democratic socialism aims to end poverty, ignorance, disease and inequality of opportunity. Indian socialism is a blend of Marxism and Gandhism, leaning heavily towards
Gandhian socialism’

3. Secular
The term ‘secular’ too was added by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act of 1976. However, as the Supreme Court said in 1974, although the words ‘secular state’ were not expressedly mentioned.
in the Constitution, there can be no doubt that Constitution-makers wanted to establish such a state and accordingly Articles 25 to 28 (guaranteeing the fundamental right to freedom of religion) have been included in the constitution.

4. Democratic
A democratic polity, as stipulated in the Preamble, is based on the doctrine of popular sovereignty, that is, possession of supreme power by the people.
Democracy is of two types—direct and indirect. In direct democracy, the people exercise their supreme power directly as is the case in Switzerland. 
The Indian Constitution provides for rep-resentative parliamentary democracy under which the executive is responsible to the legislature for all its policies and actions. Universal adult franchise, periodic elections, rule of law, independence of judiciary, and absence of discrimination on certain
grounds are the manifestations of the democratic character of the Indian polity.

5. Republic
A democratic polity can be classified into two categories—monarchy and republic. In a monarchy, the head of the state (usually king or queen) enjoys a hereditary position, that is, he comes into office through succession, eg, Britain. In a republic, on the other hand, the head of the state is always elected directly or indirectly for a fixed period, eg, USA.
Therefore, the term ‘republic’ in our Preamble indicates that India has an elected head called the president. He is elected indirectly for a fixed period of five years.

6. Justice
The term ‘justice’ in the Preamble embraces three distinct forms—social, economic and political, secured through various provisions of Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles.
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.
Economic justice denotes the non-discrimination between people on the basis of economic factors. It involves the elimination of glaring in-equalities in wealth, income and property. A combination of social justice and economic justice denotes what is known as ‘distributive justice’.

Political justice implies that all citizens should have equal political rights, equal access to all political offices and equal voice in the government.
The ideal of justice—social, economic and political—has been taken from the Russian Revolution (1917).

7. Liberty
The term ‘liberty’ means the absence of restraints on the activities of individuals, and at the same time, providing opportunities for the development of individual personalities.
The Preamble secures to all citizens of India liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship,
The ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity in our Preamble have been taken from the French Revolution (1789–1799).

8. Equality
The term ‘equality’ means the absence of special privileges to any section of the society, and the provision of adequate opportunities for all individuals without any discrimination.
The Preamble secures to all citizens of India equality of status and opportunity. This provision embraces three dimensions of equality—civic, political and economic.

9. Fraternity
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.

AMENDABILITY OF THE PREAMBLE
The question as to whether the Preamble can be amended under Article 368 of the Constitution arose.
for the first time in the historic case of Kesavananda Bharati (1973). It was urged that the Preamble cannot be amended as it is not a part of the Constitution. The petitioner contended that the amending power in Article 368 cannot be used to destroy or damage the basic elements or the fundamental
features of the Constitution, which are enshrined in the Preamble.
The Supreme Court, however, held that the Preamble is a part of the Constitution. The Court stated that the opinion tendered by it in the Berubari Union (1960) in this regard was wrong, and held that the Preamble 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 be altered by an amendment under Article 368.

The Preamble 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.


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