The preamble to the Indian Constitution

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POLITY

Introduction

  • The ‘Preamble’ of the Constitution of India is a brief introductory statement that sets out the guiding purpose and principles of the document, and it indicates the source from which the document which derives its authority, meaning, the people. It was adopted on 26 November 1949 by the Constituent Assembly of India and came into effect on 26th January 1950.
  • American constitution was the first to begin with a preamble. Many counties, including India, followed this practice. A preamble is an introductory and expressionary statement in a document that explains the document’s purpose and underlying philosophy.
  • The Preamble of the Indian Constitution is based on Jawaharlal Nehru’s Objective Resolution, which was endorsed by the Constitution’s authors. The importance of the Preamble can be found in its elements. It represents the Constitution’s source, the Indian people.

The Preamble – Historical Background

  • For the philosophy underlying our Constitution we ought to appear lower back into the historic Objectives Resolution of Pandit Nehru which changed by means of the Constituent Assembly on January 22, 1947, and which stimulated the shaping of the Constitution via all its next stages.
  • In the Pandit Nehru words, the Resolution changed into “something more than a resolution. It is a declaration, a firm resolve, a pledge, an undertaking and for all of us a dedication”.
  • It could be seen that the ideals embodied withinside the Objective Resolution is faithfully pondered withinside the Preamble to the Constitution, which, as amended in 1976, summarizes the ambitions and objects of the Constitution.
  • The drafting committee found that the preamble ought to be confined in defining the features of the new states and its socio-political targets and different important subjects should be refined further in the Constitution.
  • The committee modified the motto from ‘Sovereign Independent Republic’ to ‘Sovereign Democratic Republic’ because it was stated withinside the ‘Objective Resolution’.
  • The preamble also can be referred to as the soul of the Constitution because it has everything about the Constitution.
  • It was adopted on twenty sixth November 1949 and it began out from twenty sixth January 1950 additionally referred to as the Republic Day.

What is a Preamble?

  • A preamble is an introductory statement in a document that explains the document’s philosophy and objectives.
  • In a Constitution, it presents the intention of its framers, the history behind its creation, and the core values and principles of the nation.
  • The preamble basically gives idea of the following things/objects:
    • Source of the Constitution
    • Nature of Indian State
    • Statement of its objectives
    • Date of its adoption

Components of Preamble

  • It is indicated by the Preamble that the source of authority of the Constitution lies with the people of India.
  • Preamble declares India to be a sovereign, socialist, secular and democratic republic.
  • The objectives stated by the Preamble are to secure justice, liberty, equality to all citizens and promote fraternity to maintain unity and integrity of the nation.
  • The date is mentioned in the preamble when it was adopted i.e. November 26, 1949.

Key words in the Preamble

Sovereign

India is internally and externally sovereign – externally free from the control of any foreign power and internally, it has a free government that is directly elected by the people and makes laws that govern the people. No external power can dictate the government of India.

Socialist

“Socialism” is an economic philosophy where means of production and distribution are owned by the State. India adopted Mixed Economy, where apart from the state, there will be private production too. Socialism as a social philosophy stresses more on societal equality.

Secular

Features of secularism as envisaged in the Preamble is to mean that the 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 v Union of India, AIR 1994 SC 1918).]

Democratic

This indicates that the Constitution has established a form of government that gets its authority from the will of the people. The rulers are elected by the people and are responsible to them.

Republic

As opposed to a monarchy, in which the head of state is appointed on the hereditary basis for a lifetime or until he abdicates from the throne, 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. The post of the President Of India is not hereditary. Every citizen of India is eligible to become the President of the country.

Objectives of Indian State

Justice

Social, Economic, and Political.

Equality

of status and opportunity.

Liberty

of thought, expression, belief, faith, and worship

Fraternity (=Brotherhood)

assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the nation.

Date of its adoption

The date of adoption of the Constitution is 26th November 1949.  But most of the articles in the Constitution came into force on January 26th, 1950. Those articles which came into existence on 26th November 1949 are given by Article 394.

Objectives of the Indian Constitution

  • The Constitution is the supreme law and it helps to maintain integrity in the society and to promote unity among the citizens to build a great nation.
  • The main objective of the Indian Constitution is to promote harmony throughout the nation.
  • The factors which help in achieving this objective are:

Justice

It is necessary to maintain order in society that is promised through various provisions of Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of State Policy provided by the Constitution of India. It comprises three elements, which are social, economic, and political.

Social Justice

Social justice means that the Constitution wants to create a society without discrimination on any grounds like caste, creed, gender, religion, etc.

Economic Justice

Economic Justice means no discrimination can be caused by people on the basis of their wealth, income, and economic status. Every person must be paid equally for an equal position and all people must get opportunities to earn for their living.

Political Justice

Political Justice means all the people have an equal, free and fair right without any discrimination to participate in political opportunities.

Equality

The term ‘Equality’ means no section of society has any special privileges and all the people have been given equal opportunities for everything without any discrimination. Everyone is equal before the law.

Liberty

The term ‘Liberty’ means freedom for the people to choose their way of life, have political views and behavior in society. Liberty does not mean freedom to do anything, a person can do anything but within the limit set by the law.

Fraternity

The term ‘Fraternity’ means a feeling of brotherhood and an emotional attachment with the country and all the people. Fraternity helps to promote dignity and unity in the nation.

Preamble as part of the constitution

  • In the Berubari Union Case (1960), the Supreme Court opined that the Preamble was not part of the constitution
  • The above opinion was reversed in Keshavananda Bharati case in 1973; the SC held that Preamble is part of the constitution. This opinion was further clarified by the SC in LIC of India case (1995).

Preamble and its amendability

  • In Keshavananda Bharati case, 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. That is- 42nd constitutional amendment act, 1976 when three new terms were added- Socialist, secular and integrity

Facts about Preamble of Indian Constitution

  • It was enacted after the enactment of the entire Constitution of India
  • The term ‘secular’ was added to the Preamble of the Indian Constitution by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act of 1976.
  • The Preamble secures to all citizens of India liberty of belief, faith and worship
  • Ideal of justice (social, economic and political) in the Preamble are borrowed from the Soviet Union (Russia) Constitution
  • Republic and the ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity are borrowed from the French Constitution
  • Preamble, in itself, has been first introduced through the American Constitution.

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