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The ideals behind the Preamble to India’s Constitution were laid down by Jawaharlal Nehru’s Objectives Resolution, adopted by the Constituent Assembly on January 22, 1947. Although not enforceable in court of law.
The preamble to the Constitution of India is a brief introductory statement that sets out the guiding purpose, principles and philosophy of the constitution.
Preamble gives an idea about the following:
(1) the source of the constitution,
(2) nature of the Indian state,
(3) a statement of its objectives and
(4) the date of its adoption.
Source of the Constitution
We, the people of India.
The phrase “We the people of India” emphasizes that the constitution is made by and for the Indian people and not given to them by any outside power.
It also emphasizes the concept of popular sovereignty as laid down by Rousseau: All the power emanates from the people and the political system will be accountable and responsible to the people.
Nature of Indian state
- Sovereign: 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. No external power can dictate the government of India.
- Socialist: “Socialism” as an economic philosophy where means of production and distribution are owned by the State. India adopted a Mixed Economy, where apart from the state, there will be private production too. Socialism as a social philosophy stresses more on societal equality. It was added in the Preamble by 42nd Amendment, 1976.
- Secular: Features of secularism as envisaged in the Preamble is to mean that the state will have no religion of its own and all persons will be equally entitled to the freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess, practice and propagate the religion of their choice. All the religions in India get equal respect, protection and support from the state. It was incorporated in the Preamble by 42nd Constitutional Amendment, 1976.
- Democratic: The term Democratic indicates that the Constitution has established a form of government that gets its authority from the will of the people expressed in an election. The Preamble states India to be a democratic country. The responsible representative government, universal adult franchise, one vote one value, an independent judiciary, etc. are the features of Indian democracy.
- Republic: a democratic republic is an entity in which the head of state is elected, directly or indirectly, for a fixed tenure. The head of the state is elected by the people. In India, the President of India is the elected head of the state. As opposed to a monarchy, in which the head of state is appointed on the hereditary basis for a lifetime or until he renounces from the throne.
Objectives of the Indian Constitution
- The Constitution is the supreme law of the land and it helps to maintain integrity in the society and to promote unity among the citizens to build a great nation.
- The main objective of the Indian Constitution is to promote harmony throughout the nation.
The factors which help in achieving this objective are:
Justice: It is necessary to maintain order in society that is promised through various provisions of Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of State Policy provided by the Constitution of India. It comprises three elements, which are social, economic, and political.
- Social Justice – Social justice means that the Constitution wants to create a society without discrimination on any grounds like caste, creed, gender, religion, etc.
- Economic Justice – Economic Justice means no discrimination can be caused by people on the basis of their wealth, income, and economic status. Every person must be paid equally for an equal position and all people must get opportunities to earn for their living.
- Political Justice – Political Justice means all the people have an equal, free and fair right without any discrimination to participate in political opportunities.
Equality: The term ‘Equality’ means no section of society has any special privileges and all the people have been given equal opportunities for everything without any discriminations. Everyone is equal before the law.
Liberty: The term ‘Liberty’ means freedom for the people to choose their way of life, have political views and behavior in society. Liberty does not mean freedom to do anything, a person can do anything but in the limit set by the law.
Fraternity: The term ‘Fraternity’ means a feeling of brotherhood and an emotional attachment with the country and all the people. Fraternity helps to promote dignity and unity in the nation.
These objectives are the most important for living a dignified life.
- Without equality, liberty would produce the supremacy of the few over the many.
- Equality without liberty would kill individual initiative.
- Without fraternity, liberty would produce the supremacy of the few over the many.
- Without fraternity, liberty and equality could not become a natural course of things.
Date of its adoption
Date of adoption of the Constitution is 26th November, 1949. But most of the articles in the Constitution came into force on January 26th, 1950.
26 January was selected for this purpose because it was this day in 1930 when the Declaration of Indian Independence (Purna Swaraj) was proclaimed by the Indian National Congress.
Amendment of the Preamble
42nd Amendment Act, 1976: After the judgment of the Kesavanand Bharati case, it was accepted that the preamble is part of the Constitution. As a part of the Constitution, the preamble can be amended under Article 368 of the Constitution, but the basic structure of the preamble can not be amended. Because the structure of the Constitution is based on the basic elements of the Preamble. As of now, the preamble is only amended once through the 42nd Amendment Act, 1976.The term ‘Socialist’, ‘Secular’, and ‘Integrity’ were added to the preamble through 42nd Amendment Act, 1976.