Keywords of the Preamble of Indian Constitution
The Preamble states the basic objectives which the constitution seeks to establish and promotes and also aids the legal interpretation of the constitution, where the language is found to be ambiguous. Preamble of Indian Constitution is known as the Soul of our Constitution.
The Preamble of Indian Constitution
‘We the People of India’ declares ultimate society of the people of India as the source of all constitutional authority.
There are various keywords engraved in the Preamble of Indian Constitution such as Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic, Republic, Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity which shows the nature of state and objectives of Indian State.
Nature of State
Being sovereign means being the supreme authority in its own sphere and having complete political freedom. India is sovereign state which means 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). Indian Constitution does not explicitly specify where the sovereign authority lies but by mentioning the source of our Constitution as ‘We, the people of India’ it states that the ultimate sovereignty rests with the people of India as a whole. Being a sovereign state, India can either acquire a foreign territory or cede a part of its territory in favour of a foreign state.
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 but it does not affect India’s sovereignty in any manner.
The word ‘Socialism’ was provided by 42nd Amendment Act of the Constitution in 1976. By the word socialism the Constitution means the achievement of socialistic ends through democratic means i.e. ‘democratic, socialism’. Democratic socialism holds faith in a ‘mixed economy’ where both public and private sectors co-exist side by side. According to 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’.
The new economic policy (1991) of liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation has, however, diluted the socialist credentials of the Indian State.
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 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.
Indian State does not favor any particular Religion. There is no official or State Religion in the State of India. It distances itself from the likes of Islamic Republic of Pakistan or any other Islamic Nations. India has adopted Secularism by giving Equal Practicing Rights and Status to all its religions. This is assured by the articles from 25-28 of the constitution. It assures Rights to Equality to all its citizens without any prejudice and arrange to the protection of minority rights and existence. State does not interfere in the Religious Autonomy of its citizens and does not approve of any tax, cess, Levi in the name of religion. A secular state is primarily devoted to political order and freedom and pursues policies in promoting economic stability and welfare of the people. The Indian Constitution embodies the positive concept of secularism ie, all religions in our country (irrespective of their strength) have the same status and support from the state.
Preamble declares India as a Democratic State which means possession of supreme power by the people. It arranges for a Democratic Process in the Indian constitution.
The Indian Constitution provides for representative parliamentary democracy. There is a strong relationship between Parliament and Executive and Executive is responsible to the Government of Parliament for all its actions. Parliament can remove the Executive by passing a No Confidence Motion. 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.
The term ‘democratic’ is used in the Preamble in the broader sense embracing not only political democracy but also social and economic democracy. In 1997, the Supreme Court observed that: “The Constitution envisions to establish an egalitarian social order rendering to every citizen social, economic and political justice in a social and economic democracy of the Bharat 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 such as in Britain. In a republic, on the other hand, the head of the state is always elected directly or indirectly for a fixed period such as in USA.
Preamble declares India as a Republic State which means India is not ruled by any King or nominated Personality. In India, a president is elected for a period of five years. A republic also means two more things: one, vesting of political sovereignty in the people and not in a single individual like a king. Second, the absence of any privileged class and hence all public offices being opened to every citizen without any discrimination.
Objectives of the State
The term ‘justice’ in the Preamble embraces three distinct forms – social, economic and political, secured through various provisions of Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles.
By social justice system it implied that there should be no special treatment category of people and the people of India should not be discriminated on the basis of caste, creed, religion, region, faith etc. India has accepted Social Justice as an Objective. For this goal, constitution gives Right to Equality to all its citizens and prohibits untouchability and ensures special support system for disadvantaged sections of the society.
Economic justice denotes the non-discrimination between people on the basis of economic factors.It will have Equitable Distribution of Wealth and commitment to have a Welfare State by eradicating monopolistic control on resources and by ensuring equal opportunity of subsistence to all its citizens. A combination of social justice and economic justice denotes what is known as ‘distributive justice’.
Political justice implies that all equal rights to all citizens to elect their representatives and get Government jobs, getting right to Government jobs also ensures political rights to the masses.
The ideal of justice – social, economic and political has been taken from the Russian Revolution (1917).
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. It is the duty of the State to protect Liberty of people, to ensure freedom of speech, to ensure religious freedom, to ensure people follow their faith as per their own way.
Liberty as elaborated in the Preamble is very essential for the successful functioning of the Indian democratic system. However, liberty does not mean ‘license’ to do what one likes, and has to be enjoyed within the limitations mentioned in the Constitution itself. In brief, the liberty conceived by the Preamble or fundamental rights is not absolute but qualified.
The ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity in our Preamble have been taken from the French Revolution.
The Preamble secures to all citizens of India equality of status and opportunity. Under article 14 and 15, Constitution offers each Indian access to opportunity thereby ensuring Right to Equality irrespective of caste, creed, religion, and colour faith etc. Under Article 16, constitution offers each Indian similar and unbiased opportunity. Article 18 abolishes the practice of titles.
Article 325 states that no person is to be declared ineligible for inclusion in electoral rolls on grounds of religion, race, caste or sex.
Directive Principles of State Policy (Article 39) secures to men and women equal right to an adequate means of livelihood and equal pay for equal work.
The Preamble emphasise the objectives of ‘Fraternity’ to generate a spirit of brotherhood among all sections of the people which is essential in a country like India composed of so many races, religions, languages and culture.
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. It also protect the dignity of women by stating that it shall be the duty of every citizen of India to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women, and also makes it the duty of every citizen of India to uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India.
The phrase ‘unity and integrity of the nation’ was inserted by the 42nd Amendment Act, 1976 which embraces both the psychological and territorial dimensions of national integration.