The Preamble of Indian Constitution

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The Preamble of Indian Constitution| Text, Ingredients, Keywords, legal implications, constitutional importance of the Preamble of Indian Constitution


Every constitution has a preamble with which it begins. It is a brief introductory statement that conveys the guiding principles of the document. It provides the essence of the Constitution and briefly talks about what the constitution is all about. It explains the purposes and objectives with which the document has been written. serves three purpose:

• The sources of the constitution

• A sediment of its objectives

• The date of its adoption.

The Preamble to the Indian Constitution is based on the ‘Objectives Resolution’, drafted and moved by Pandit Nehru, and adopted by the Constituent Assembly.

Text of the Preamble

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;

• The Constitution (42nd Amendment) Act, 1976 amended the Preamble and added the words,’Socialist’, ‘Secular’ and ‘Integrity’ to the Preamble.

The Preamble of Indian Constitution serves below purpose:

• Indicates the source from which the Constitution derives its authority i.e. the people of India.

• States the values and objects which the Constitution seeks to establish and promote.

• Aids in the legal interpretation of the Constitution where the language is found to be ambiguous.

Ingredients of the Preamble:

• The preamble has expressed the political, social, Moral and religious values to be promoted by the constitution for the establishment of a strong and mighty sovereign Democratic Republic of India. In essence it contains all the ingredients of a welfare state necessary for democracy.

• The objective and policy disclosed in the preamble gives an eye view of the whole of the enactment which we find in detail in Fundamentals Rights and Directive principles.

• The basic structure of the constitution in a concise manner is engraved in the Preamble. The essentials attributes of democracy are reflected in it- Justice, Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity of the nation.

• The democratic structure of our constitution is built upon the concepts crystallized in the Preamble.

• It specifies the date of adoption of the Constitution that is November 26, 1949.

Keywords in the Preamble

There are various keywords provided in the Preamble of Indian Constitution that describes the nature of state India want to have and its basic values. These are Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic, Republic, Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.

• India is a Sovereign state which means India has it own authority and is free to take decision for herself without any external interference.

• The word ‘Socialist‘ was added to the Preamble by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment in 1976. It means the achievement of socialist ends through democratic means. India adopted mixed Economy, where apart from the state, there will be private production too. The government strive for societal equality and aims to end poverty, ignorance, disease and inequality of opportunity.

• The word “Secular‘ has been added to the Preamble of the Constitution by 42nd Amendment (1976) and retained by the 44th Amendment (1978). It means Indian state has no official religion and should equally protect, respect and support all the religions in India.

• The word ‘Democratic‘ means the Constitution has established a democratic form of government in India in which the rulers are elected by the people and are accountable to them.

• India opted to be a Republic in which the head of the state is elected by the people directly or indirectly. In India, the President is the head of the state who is elected indirectly by the people.

• The term Justice in the Preamble embraces three distinct forms: Social, economic and political spheres of human activity.

• The term liberty is used in the Preamble signifies not only the absence of any arbitrary restraints on the freedom of the individual actions, but also the creation of conditions which provide the essential ingredients necessary
for the fullest development of individual personality. Liberty shall be provided to each every citizen, in the thought, expression, belief, faith and worship.

• Each individual is assured of equality of status and opportunity for the development of the best in him.

• The Preamble emphasize the objectives of Fraternity to generate a spirit of brotherhood among all sections of the people.

Keywords in the Preamble

Legal implications of the Preamble:

• The Preamble is recognised as a part of the Constitution. It cannot override the specific provisions of the Constitution. In case of any conflict between the two, the latter shall prevail as in the Keshavananda Bharati Case, 1973 where Supreme Court declared the Preamble as a part of the Constitution, it could not suggest that the government could derive any additional power from the Preamble.

• The Preamble is not enforceable in the court of law like the Directive Principles of State Policy.

• The Preamble enables the court to dispel the ambiguity of language or expression found in a constitutional provision and to explain and elucidate its appropriate meaning and significance. Hence, the court cannot be expected to examine the constitutional validity of a legislative enactment or administrative measure by keeping their attention confined to the Preamble.

Constitutional Importance of the Preamble:

• No one can deny the legal and constitutional importance of the Preamble.

• The Preamble contains the ideals and aspirations of the constitution-framers. The nature and character of the Constitution of India and the political system of the country are easily understood by reading the Preamble.

• The Preamble cannot be enforced by the court of law, but it helps and enables the court to explain and interpret constitutional provision.

• In Keshavananda Bharati Case, Justice Shikri annotated that the Preamble is of extreme importance and Constitution should be read and interpreted in the light of grand and noble vision expressed in the Preamble.

• The Preamble embodies and expresses the hopes and aspirations of the people. What people of independent India expect from the State of India or the Government of India has been unequivocally expressed in the Preamble to the Constitution.

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