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:
- The word "sovereign’ implies that 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).
- Even before the term was added by the 42nd Amendment in 1976, the Constitution had a socialist content in the form of certain Directive Principles of State Policy.
- Democratic socialism, on the other hand, holds faith in a "mixed economy’ where both public and private sectors co-exist side by side. As the Supreme Court says, ‘Democratic socialism aims to end poverty, ignorance, disease and inequality of opportunity.
- 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 expressedly 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.
- The Indian Constitution all religions in our country have the same status and support from the state.
- A democratic polity, as stipulated in the Preamble, is based on the doctrine of popular sovereignty, that is, possession of supreme power by the people.
- Democracy is of two types-direct and indirect. In direct democracy, the people exercise their supreme power directly as is the case in Switzerland. There are four devices of direct democracy, namely, Referendum, Initiative, Recall and Plebiscite.
- In indirect democracy, on the other hand, the representatives elected by the people exercise the supreme power and thus carry on the government and make the laws. This type of democracy, also known as representative democracy, is of two kinds-parliamentary and presidential.
- The term ‘democratic' is used in the Preamble in the broader senseembracing not only political democracy but also social and economic democracy.
- The term ‘republic' in our Preamble indicates that India has an elected head called the president. He is elected indirectly for a fixed 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 Indian State
1. Justice : Social, Economic and Political.
2. Equality : of status and opportunity.
3. Liberty : of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship
4. Fraternity (=Brotherhood) : assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the nation.
PREAMBLE AS PART OF THE CONSTITUTION
- In the Berubari Union case (1960), the Supreme Court said that the Preamble shows the general purposes behind the several provisions in the Constitution, the Supreme Court specifically opined that Preamble is not a part of the Constitution.
- In the Kesavananda Bharati case 17 (1973), the Supreme Court rejected the earlier opinion and held that Preamble is a part of the Constitution.
- In the LIC of India case(1995) also, the Supreme Court again held that the Preamble is an integral part of the Constitution. Like any other part of the Constitution.
- However, two things should be noted
- The Preamble is neither a source of power to legislature nor a prohibition upon the powers of legislature.
- It is non-justiciable, that is, its provisions are not enforceable in courts of law.
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.