Monday, 27 August 2012

Preamble to the Constitution of India

  • The preamble to the Constitution of India is a brief introductory statement that sets out the guiding purpose and principles of the document.
  • The ‘objective Resolution’ proposed by JL Nehru ultimately become the Preamble.
  • The preamble is not an integral part of the Indian constitution was first decided by the Supreme Court of India in BeruBari case therefore it is not enforceable in a court of law.
  • However, Supreme Court of India has, in the Kesavananda case, recognised that the preamble may be used to interpret ambiguous areas of the constitution where differing interpretations present themselves. Also, it can be amended by Parliament provided basic structure remains unchanged.
  •  In the 1995 case of Union Government Vs LIC of India also the Supreme Court has once again held that Preamble is the integral part of the Constitution.
  • As originally enacted the preamble described the state as a "sovereign democratic republic". In 1976 the 42nd Amendment changed this to as "sovereign socialist secular democratic republic".
Full text
“              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;

Reading through the Preamble, one can see the purpose that it serves, namely, the declaration of
(1)     The source of the constitution,- people of India.
(2)     A statement of its objectives and
(3)    The date of its adoption.


The enacting words "We, the people of India our constituent assembly here by adopt, enact and give to ourselves this constitution", signifies the democratic principle that power is ultimately rested in the hands of the people. It also emphasises that the constitution is made by and for the Indian people and not given to them by any outside power (such as the British Parliament). The wording is close to the preamble of the Constitution of Ireland, which had been adopted in 1937; it reads "We ourselves this Constitution". All the power emanates from the people and the political system will be accountable and responsible to the people.

     1.  Sovereign

The word sovereign means supreme or independence. India is internally and externally sovereign - externally free from the control of any foreign power and internally, it has a free government which is directly elected by the people and makes laws that govern the people.

    2.   Socialist
  • The word socialist was added to the Preamble by the 42nd Amendment. It implies social and economic equality.
  • Social equality in this context means the absence of discrimination on the grounds only of caste, colour, creed, sex, religion, or language. Under social equality, everyone has equal status and opportunities.
  • Economic equality in this context means that the government will endeavor to make the distribution of wealth more equal and provide a decent standard of living for all. This is in effect emphasized a commitment towards the formation of a welfare state.

   3.       Secular

Indian Government shall respect all religions. It would not uplift or degrade any particular religion.

   4.      Democratic

The people of India elect their governments at all levels (Union, State and local) by a system of universal adult franchise; popularly known as "one man one vote". Every citizen of India, who is 18 years of age and above and not otherwise debarred by law, is entitled to vote. Every citizen enjoys this right without any discrimination on the basis of caste, creed, colour, sex, religion or education.

   5.       Republic

As opposed to a monarchy, in which the head of state is appointed on hereditary basis for a lifetime or until he abdicates from the throne, a democratic republic is an entity in which the head of state is elected, directly or indirectly, for a fixed tenure. The President of India is elected by an electoral college for a term of five years. The post of the President of India is not hereditary. Every citizen of India is eligible to become the President of the country. 

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