The Constitution of India: Part-2: Preamble for TNPSC and Other Exams
THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA - Part -2 : PREAMBLE
The 'Preamble' of the Constitution of India is a brief introductory statement that sets out the guiding purpose and principles of the document, and it indicates the source from which the document which derives its authority, meaning, the people. The hopes and aspiration of the people as well as the ideals before our nation are described in the preamble in clear cut words. It may be considered as the soul of Constitution. The preamble can be referred to as the preface which highlights the essence of the entire Constitution. It was adopted on 26 November 1949 by the Constituent Assembly and came into effect from 26th January, 1950.
PREAMBLE TO THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA
The Objective Resolution moved by Jawar Lal Nehru ultimately become the Preamble of the Constitution. The Objective Resolution was passed by the Constituent Assembly on the 22nd January, 1947
The Final paragraph of the Preamble puts on record the exact date when the Constitution was adopted
It is based on the Objectives Resolution which was drafted and moved in the Constituent Assembly by Jawaharlal Nehru on 13 December 1946.
The preamble-page, along with other pages of the original Constitution of India, was designed and decorated solely by renowned painter Beohar Rammanohar Sinha of Jabalpur who was at Shantiniketan with acharya Nandalal Bose at that time.
Nandalal Bose endorsed Beohar Rammanohar Sinha's artwork without any alteration whatsoever. That the preamble is not an integral part of the Indian constitution was declared by the Supreme Court of India in Beru Bari case therefore it is not enforceable in a court of law.
However, Supreme Court of India has, in the Kesavananda case, overruled earlier decisions and recognized that the preamble may be used to interpret ambiguous areas of the constitution where differing interpretations present themselves.
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As originally enacted the preamble described the state as a "Sovereign Democratic Republic".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 Forty-second Amendment changed this to read "Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic"
THE TEXT OF PREAMBLE
It provides a key to the intention of the framers of the constitution. The Preamble to the Constitution of India reads: WE THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN, SOCIALIST, SECULAR, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all ts citizens, JUSTICE, social economic and political: LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship; EQUALITY of status and 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, we do HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION.
The Preamble reflects the philosophy as well as fundamental values of Indian Constitution. It clarifies four important aspects
- It mentions that the Constitution derives its Authority from the people of India
- It declares India to be sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic and republic country.
- It clarifies the objectives of the Constitution are Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.
- It states the date of Adoption i.e., 26 November 1949
THE ENACTING FORMULA
The enacting words, "We, the people of India ...in our constituent assembly ...do here by adopt, enact and give to ourselves this constitution", signify the democratic principle that power is ultimately rested in the hands of the people.
The phrase "we the people" emphasizes the concept of popular sovereignty as laid down by J. J. Rousseau: All the power emanates from the people and the political system will be accountable and responsible to the people.
It means free from the control of any foreign power and internally; has a free government which is directly elected by the people and makes laws that govern the people.
It is no longer British Commonwealth. India does not accept the British Queen as the head of state. The sovereignty empowers India to either acquire a foreign territory or cede a part of its territory in favor of a foreign state.
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. The term socialist here means democratic socialism i.e. achievement of socialistic goals through democratic, evolutionary and non-violent means. A mixed economy in which both Public sector and Private sector run together as two wheels of economic development.
Secular means the relationship between the government and the people which is determined according to constitution and law. By the 42nd Amendment, the term "Secular" was also incorporated in the Preamble. Secularism is the basic structure of the Indian constitution. The Government respects all religions. It does not uplift or degrade any particular religion. There is no such thing as a state religion for India. In S.R. Bommai vs UOI (1994) The SC of India held "A state which does not recognize any religion as the state religion, it treats all religions equally".
The first part of the preamble “We, the people of India” and, its last part “give to ourselves this Constitution” clearly indicate the democratic spirit involved even in the Constitution. India is a democracy. 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".
In a republic form of government the head of the state is an elected person and not a heredity monarch . This word denotes a government where no one holds a public power as proprietary right. 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. The leader of the state is elected by the people.
The term 'justice' used in the preamble refers to three varying aspects - Political, Social and Economic which are secured through different provisions of Fundamental Rights & Directive Principles of State Policy.
The idea of Liberty refers to the freedom on the activities of Indian nationals. This establishes that there are no unreasonable restrictions on Indian citizens in term of what they think , their manner of expressions and the way they wish to follow up their thoughts in action.
This envisages that no section of the society enjoys special privileges and individuals are provided with adequate opportunities without any discrimination. Again, there are three dimensions of Equality - Political, Economic & Civic.
This refers to a feeling of brotherhood & a sense of belonging with the country among its people. It embraces psychological as well as territorial dimensions of National Integration. It leaves no room for regionalism, communalism, casteism etc. which hinders the Unity of the State.The inclusion of the word "Fraternity" is proposed by Dr. B.R Ambedkar.
It has been clarified by the Supreme Court of India that being a part of Constitution, the Preamble can be subjected to Constitutional Amendments exercised under article 368, however, the basic structure cannot be altered.
THE FORTY-SECOND AMENDMENT
The preamble has been amended only once so far. On 18 December 1976, during the Emergency in India, the Indira Gandhi government pushed through several changes in the Forty-second Amendment of the constitution.
A committee under the chairmanship of Sardar Swaran Singh recommended that this amendment be enacted after being constituted to study the question of amending the constitution in the light of past experience. Through this amendment the words "Socialist" and "Secular" were added between the words "Sovereign" and "Democratic" and the words "Unity of the Nation" were changed to "Unity and Integrity of the Nation"
- The Preamble makes clear that the source of the Constitution is the people of India.
- The Preamble helps where the language of the Constitution is vague.
- The world "Socialist, Secular and the Unity and Integrity" of the nation were added by the 42nd Amendment Act of 1976
- The Supreme Court expressed the view that the Preamble "Preamble is the key to its makers"
- Justice Madhokar said in Sajjan singh Vs Rajastan State case that the Preamble is the Sum and Substance of the constitution
- In the Golaknath Vs. Punjab State case, Justice Hidayadhullah remarked that the preamble is the Synopsis of those principles on which the government has to work up on.
- The objective of the the Constitution is to Secure Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity for every Citizen.