The opening words of the preamble of 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 _2[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.
The Constitution derives authority from the people (We the people…). The preamble is non-justifiable.
The Preamble is the introduction to the Constitution. On December 13, 1946, Jawaharlal Nehru moved the historic “Objectives Resolution”, and the Constituent Assembly adopted it on January 22, 1947. Our Preamble is based on “Objective Resolution”.
The Preamble was amended only once in the year 1976 through the 42nd amendment to add 3 new words: Socialist, Secular, Integrity. An Amendment to preamble would be through Article 368.
There have been questions whether Preamble is part of the constitution? In the year 1960, as per Berubari case, the Supreme Court ruled that Preamble is not a part of Constitution. And in 1973, in the Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala case, the Supreme Court rejected the earlier opinion and held that Preamble is a part of the Constitution. The Court said that the Constitution could not be amended so as to alter the basic elements. The in 1995, in LIC of India v. Consumer Education and Research centre case the Supreme Court again held that the Preamble is an integral part of the Indian Constitution. The preamble is part of Indian Constitution after case of “Union of India vs Keshvanand Bharati.
The Components of the Preamble
The Preamble states that the Constitution derives its authority from the people of India.
The preamble specifies the nature of Indian State:
to be of a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic and republican polity.
The preamble specifies the objectives of the Constitution:
It specifies justice, liberty, equality and fraternity as the objectives.
The date of adoption is mentioned in the Preamble as 26th November 1949.
– The Preamble indicates the source from which the Constitution derived its authority.
– The Preamble also states the objects which the Constitution seeks to establish and promote.
Keywords in the Preamble: Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic, Republic, Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity
- The term sovereign means independent state.
- The country is free to choose its relation with other countries and free to conduct both internal & external affairs.
- This is the absolute and supreme power.
- This means that India has the power to legislate on any subject.
- India is neither dependency nor a dominion of any other nation but an independent state.
In 1949, India did not give off their membership to Commonwealth of Nations and accepted the British Crown as the head of the Commonwealth. This is because the membership did not affect India’s sovereignty in any manner.
During the Independence, India was in favour of “democratic socialism” and was against the “communistic socialism”. “Democratic socialism” means a country where mixed economy exist and have existence all public & private players. “Communistic Socialism” means a country where all the production & distribution be in hands of Government and abolition of all rules related to private property. In India this is the Democratic Socialism.
- This term was added to the preamble by the 42nd amendment act of 1976.
- The word socialism means placing means of production and distribution in the hands of public control. (state).
- The socialism strives to end inequality of opportunity.
- Socialism also means elimination of inequalities in income and status and standard of living.
- In India, we have existence of both Public and Private sectors. And this is called mixed economy.
The new economic policy (1991) of Liberalization, Privatization and Globalization (LPG) has diluted the socialist credentials of the Indian State.
- This term was added to the preamble by the 42nd Amendment to Indian Constitution in 1976.
- This means the state has no official religion.
- Article 25 to 28 of Indian Constitution (guaranteeing the fundamental right to freedom of religion) talked about freedom of religions.
- 1974, Honorable Supreme Court mentioned that “there can be no doubt that Constitution-makers wanted to establish such a state and accordingly Articles 25 to 28 have been included in the constitution.”
- This word comes from Greek work “dēmokratia”.Demos = People; Kratia = Rule
- In Preamble this word used in broader sense that contains all Economic, Social and political democracy.
- Democracy means rule by the people.
- The people of the country elect their own representatives.
- In India it is a representative democracy (indirect). (Democracy is of two types – direct and indirect.)
- One man one vote is the concept in democracy.
- There are of two type democracy in India: Parliamentary and Presidential.
- The Head of the state is always elected directly or indirectly for a fixed period.
“What is state?
– This is explained by the Constitution under Articles 12 and 36.
– ARTICLE 12: In this Part (Part III), unless the context otherwise requires, “the State’’ includes the Government and Parliament of India and the Government and the Legislature of each of the States and all local or other authorities within the territory of India or under the control of the Government of India.
– ARTICLE 36: In this Part (Part IV), unless the context otherwise requires, “the State” has the same meaning as in Part III.”
- India has an elected head called the president, and is elected indirectly for a fixed period of five years. The President is elected indirectly through the method of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote.
- Every citizen with the qualifications mentioned in the constitution is eligible to contest in the election of the President. All offices including that of the President will be open to all citizens.
The ideal of justice: social, economic and political, has been taken from the Russian Revolution (1917). Preamble contains Justice and which is further in terms of social, economic and political.
- Justice is harmonizing the interests between the individuals and between the individuals and groups and the interest of the community.
- This is not just confined to the legal justice but social, economic and political as well.
- It means equal treatment of all citizens without any social distinction based on caste, colour, race, religion, sex and so on.
- Article 38 says that the state should strive to promote the welfare of the people.
- The non-discrimination between people on the basis of economic factors.
- It involves the elimination of glaring inequalities in wealth, income and property.
- Article 39: Certain principles of policy to be followed by the state. (equal pay for equal work)
- All citizens should have equal political rights, equal access to all political offices and equal voice in the government.
- Irrespective of propriety or educational qualifications, every citizen is allowed to participate in the political system.
- All citizens have the right to participate in the political process.
- Articles 325 and 326 provide for the equal rights of all adults to participate in elections.
ARTICLE 325: No person to be ineligible for inclusion in or to claim to be included in a special, electoral rolls on grounds of religion, race, caste or sex.
ARTICLE 326: Elections to the House of People (Lok Sabha) and to the legislative assemblies of states to be on the basis of adult franchise.
- This word is taken from the French Revolution (1789-1799).
- The Preamble secures liberty of thought, expression. belief, faith and worship to all the citizens of India.
- Article 19 guarantees the freedom of speech, expression etc.\
- Articles 25 to 28 (right to religion) of the constitution the freedom of religion including the belief, faith and worship.
- All Fundamental Rights rights are granted with the reasonable restrictions.
- This word is taken from the French Revolution (1789-1799).
- All citizens enjoy equal political rights.
- All citizens are equal before the law and enjoy equal protection of the law of the land.
- There can be no discrimination between one person and another on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth in matters related to access to public places and public employment.
1. Equality before law is borrowed from UK
2. Equal protection of Laws borrowed from the USA.
Fundamental Rights includes following Articles:
- Equality before the law (Article 14).
- Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth (Article 15).
- Equality of opportunity in matters of public employment (Article 16).
- Abolition of Untouchability (Article 17).
- Abolition of titles (Article 18).
The last three words i.e. liberty, equality and fraternity in our Preamble have been taken from the French Revolution (1789-1799).
- Fraternity means a sense of brotherhood among all the citizens.
- The Constitution promotes this feeling of fraternity by the system of single citizenship.
- The fundamental rights that are guaranteed also promote the fraternity.
- The Directive Principles of State Policy talks about the promotion of harmony.
- The objective of the Dignity of the individual was to improve the quality of life for the individuals.
- The unity and integrity of the nation is possible through the dignity of the individual.
- 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 among all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic, regional or sectional diversities.