Preamble Of Indian Constitution: What Does It Tell Us?

| Updated: May 2, 2022 1:21 pm

Recently, the ace bowler Irfan Pathan put Amit Mishra another cricketer Amit Mishra in his place by tweeting the following when Mishra made a sly remark insinuating at the religion to a rather innocuous tweet by Irfan where he lamented the state of affairs in the country. Mishra tweeted “only if some people realise that our constitution is the first book to be followed.” Irfan Pathan replied by putting the image of preamble of Indian constitution.

The Preamble of constitution of India embodies the ideals which the founding fathers of the constitution desired to achieve. It is a brief statement of introduction to the constitution which sets out the guiding principles of the constitution. It also showcases the hopes and aspirations of the people for which the constitution is made. The preamble is considered the soul of the constitution.

Many countries in the world have preamble in their constitutions. US is one of them. The iconic words ” We The People” come from the US Constitution.

Originally, the preamble described the state of India as ” sovereign democratic republic”. However, it was modified to ” sovereign socialist secular democratic republic” in 1976 by 42nd amendment. These are the most important five words.

1. Sovereign

The term ‘Sovereign’ which is proclaimed by the Preamble means that India has its own independent authority and it is not a dominion of any other external power. In the country, the legislature has the power to make laws which is subjected to certain limitations.

2. Socialist

The term ‘Socialist’ was added in the Preamble by 42nd Amendment, 1976 which means the achievement of socialist ends through democratic means. It is basically a ‘Democratic Socialism’ that holds faith in a mixed economy where both private and public sectors co-exist side by side.

3. Secular

The term ‘Secular’ was incorporated in the Preamble by 42nd Constitutional Amendment, 1976 which means that all the religions in India get equal respect, protection and support from the state.

4. Democratic

The term ‘Democratic’ implies that the Constitution of India has an established form of Constitution which gets its authority from the will of the people expressed in an election.

5. Republic

The term ‘Republic’ indicates that the head of the state is elected by the people directly or indirectly. In India, the President is the head of the state and he is elected indirectly by the people.

Preamble serves many purposes. It declares the fundamental rights which the people of India intended to secure for all it’s citizens.

  • Justice : Social, Economic and political
  • Liberty : of Thought, Expression, Belief, faith and Worship
  • Equality: of Status and Opportunity
  • Fraternity: assuring the Dignity of the Individual and the Unity and Integrity of the nation

Preamble – A Part Of Constitution or Not?

There are two cases decided by the Supreme court in this regard. First is Berubari Union case, where it was held that the Preamble is not the part of the Constitution. It was also recognised that the Preamble could be used as a guiding principle if a term in any article of the Constitution is ambiguous or seemingly have more than one meaning. In the second case, Keshvananda Bharti v. State of Kerala, the Supreme Court overturned its earlier decision and held that the Preamble is a part of the Constitution and can be amended under Article 368 of the Constitution.

The Preamble provides significant help in finding the key to open the minds of the makers of the Act. The objectives in the Preamble are a part of basic structure of the Constitution. Preamble cannot be amended so as to destroy the objectives.

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