The Constitution of India begins with a Preamble which describes the nature of the Indian State and the objectives it is committed to secure. K.M. Munshi describes the Preamble as the political horoscope of the constitution. Thakur Dass Bhargawa says Preamble is the most precious part and the soul of the constitution.
The Preamble 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, 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 do hereby Adopt, Enact and Give to ourselves this Constitution.
The words ‘Socialist ‘Secular” and ‘Integrity were initially not there in the Preamble. These were added by the 42nd Amendment (1976) of the Constitution.
I. The Source of Authority:
The Preamble categorically accepts the principle of Popular Sovereignty. It begins with the words: ‘We the people of India’. These words testify to the fact that the people of India are’ the ultimate source of all authority. The Government derives its power from them.
II. Nature of State:
The Preamble describes five cardinal features of the Indian state:
(1) India is a Sovereign State:
The Preamble proclaims that India is a sovereign state. Such a proclamation denotes the end of rule over India. It testifies to the fact that India is no longer a dependency or colony or possession of British Crown. As a sovereign independent state, India is free both internally and externally to take her own decisions and implement these for her people and territories.
In 1976, the Preamble was amended to include the word ‘Socialism’. It is now regarded as a prime feature of the State. It reflects the fact that India is committed to secure social, economic and political justice for all its people. India stands for ending all forms of exploitation as well as for securing equitable distribution of income, resources and wealth. This has to be secured by peaceful, constitutional and democratic means. The term ‘India is a Socialist state’ really means, ‘India is a democratic socialist state.’
(3) India is a Secular State:
By the 42nd Amendment, the term ‘Secular’ was incorporated in the Preamble. Its inclusion simply made the secular nature of the Indian Constitution more explicit. As a state India gives special status to no religion. There is no such thing as a state religion of India. India guarantees equal freedom to all religions. All religions enjoy equality of status and respect.
(4) India is a Democratic State:
The Preamble declares India to be a Democratic State. The Constitution of India provides for a democratic system. The authority of the government rests upon the sovereignty of the people. The people enjoy equal political rights. The people freely participate in the democratic process of self rule.
They elect their government. For all its acts, the government is responsible before the people. The people can change their government through elections. The government enjoys limited powers. It always acts under the Constitution which represents the supreme will of the people.
(5) India is a Republic:
The Preamble declares India to be a Republic. Negatively, this means that India is not ruled by a monarch or a nominated head of state. Positively, it means that India has an elected head of state who wields power for a fixed term. President of India is the elected sovereign head of the state. He holds a tenure of 5 years. Any Indian citizen can get elected as the President of India.
III. Four Objectives of the Indian State:
The Preamble lists four cardinal objectives which are to be “secured by the state for all its citizens”.
India seeks to secure social, economic and political justice for its people.
(i) Social Justice:
Social Justice means the absence of socially privileged classes in the society and no discrimination against any citizen on grounds of caste, creed, colour, religion, sex or place of birth. India stands for eliminating all forms of exploitations from the society.
(ii) Economic Justice:
Economic Justice means no discrimination between man and man on the basis of income, wealth and economic status. It stands for equitable distribution of wealth, economic equality, end of monopolistic control over means of production and distribution, decentralisation of economic resources, and securing of adequate opportunities to all for earning their livelihoods.
(iii) Political Justice:
Political Justice means equal, free and fair opportunities to the people for participation in the political process. It stands for the grant of equal political rights to all the people without any discrimination. The Constitution of India provides for a liberal democracy in which all the people have the right and freedom to participate.
The Preamble declares liberty to be the second cardinal objective to be secured. It includes liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship. The grant of Fundamental Rights (Part III) including the right to freedom is designed to secure this objective. Liberty of faith and worship is designed to strengthen the spirit of secularism.
The Preamble declares Equality as the third objective of the Constitution. Equality means two basic things:
(i) Equality of status i.e. natural equality of all persons as equal and free citizens of India enjoying equality before law.
(ii) Equality of opportunity i.e. adequate opportunities for all to develop. For securing the equality of status and opportunity, the Constitution of India grants and guarantees the fundamental Right to Equality.
Promotion of Fraternity among the people is the fourth objective is to promote Fraternity among all the people. Fraternity means the inculcation of a strong feeling of spiritual and psychological unity among the people. It is designed to secure dignity of the individual and unity and integrity of the nation.
IV. Date of Adoption and Enactment:
In its final paragraph, the Preamble specifies the important historical fact that the Constitution was adopted on 26 November, 1949. It was on this day that the Constitution received the signatures of the President of the Constituent Assembly and was declared passed.
V. Self-made Constitution:
The Constitution of India is an adopted, enacted and self-made constitution. It was adopted and enacted by the Constituent Assembly acting as the elected representative body of the people of India. The Preamble states the philosophical foundations of the Constitution India and enumerates its objectives.
It constitutes a Key for the interpretation of the Constitution. It is a part of the Basic Structure of the Constitution. Through, it’s Preamble, the Constitution a commits itself to Democracy, Republicanism, Socialism, Secularism, Liberalism and Welfare State. The Preamble states the objectives which the Constitution is committed to secure for all the people of India.
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