The American Constitution was the first to begin with a Preamble. The Preamble to the Indian Constitution is based on the "Objectives Resolution', drafted and moved by Pandit Nehru, and adopted by the Constituent Assembly. It has been amended by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act t.1976), which added three new words - socialist, secular and integrity.
TEXT OF THE PREAMBLE: The Preamble in its present form reads:
“ 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;
IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this twenty-sixth day of November, 1949, do HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION”.
KEY WORDS IN THE PREAMBLE
Certain key words—Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic, Republic, Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity—are explained as follows:
- This means that all religions have the same status and support from the state.
- The Constitution guarantees the fundamental right to freedom of religion through Articles 25 to 28.
- The objective of a secular state is to ensure equal treatment and protection of all religious communities.
- Therefore, the term "secular" in the Indian Constitution signifies the commitment to religious tolerance and equality.
1. Justice: Social, Economic, and Political
The objective of ensuring justice in Indian society is to create a fair, impartial, and equal system for all citizens. Social justice aims to provide equal opportunities and treatment to all individuals, regardless of their caste, religion, gender, or economic status. Economic justice focuses on providing equal opportunities for all citizens to participate in the economy and enjoy the benefits of economic growth. Lastly, political justice ensures that all citizens have the right to participate in the political process and decision-making, as well as equal protection under the law.
2. Liberty: of thought, expression, belief, faith, and worship
The Indian state aims to guarantee the freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith, and worship to all its citizens. This objective promotes a diverse and tolerant society where individuals have the right to express their opinions, practice their religion, and follow their beliefs without fear of discrimination or persecution. By ensuring these liberties, the Indian state fosters an environment in which the free exchange of ideas and knowledge can flourish, contributing to the nation's progress.
3. Equality: of status and opportunity, and to promote among them all
The objective of equality in the Indian state focuses on providing equal status and opportunities to all citizens, regardless of their social, economic, or cultural background. This means that all individuals should have equal access to resources, education, and employment, and that discrimination based on caste, religion, gender, or economic status should be eliminated. The Indian state works to promote policies and programs that address inequalities and provide support to marginalized communities to ensure that they have equal opportunities to succeed.
4. Fraternity (Brotherhood): assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the nation
The objective of fraternity in the Indian state is to create a sense of unity among the diverse population while maintaining the dignity of each individual. By promoting brotherhood and understanding among its citizens, the Indian state fosters social cohesion and ensures that the nation remains unified in its pursuit of progress. This objective also emphasizes the importance of respecting each individual's dignity and rights, which contributes to a harmonious and inclusive society.
PREAMBLE AS PART OF THE CONSTITUTION
AMENDABILITY OF THE PREAMBLE
Preamble can be amended under Article 368 of the Constitution arose for the first time in the historic case of Kesavananda Bharati (1973). The Preamble has been amended only once so far, in 1976, by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act, which has added three new words Socialist, Secular and Integrity to the Preamble. This amendment was held to be valid.