Preamble to Indian Constitution
Preamble to Indian constitution is introductory statement which outlines the aims and objectives of constitution. The preamble to Indian constitution derives its source and is dedicated to “the people”. Basically preamble to Indian Constitution sets some basic guidelines and principles for the constitution of India. It is also called the soul and main essence of Indian constitution. It was adopted on 26 Nov 1949 by constituent assembly.
Jawaharlal Nehru presented some objectives on 13 Dec 1946 before constituent assembly. This resolution served as guideline for framing up the constitution and later it was accepted as the preamble to Indian constitution. The original text of preamble describes the country as “Sovereign Democratic Republic”. Secular and Socialist terms were added later during 42nd constitutional amendment.
The graphical design of the preamble page along with other pages of constitution was prepared by Beohar Rammanohar Sinha. The calligraphy work of the preamble was done by Prem Behari Raizada.
Text of 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, economical 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 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.
Thus the Preamble declares India sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic and a republican state which drawn its authority from the people, and intends to provide to its citizens social, economic and political justice; assures them liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship; and equality of status and opportunity. It aims at securing a fraternity based on the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the nation.
Meaning of Sovereign in Preamble to Indian Constitution
It means that India is both internally as well as externally free and it is not dependent upon any outside authority.
Meaning of Socialism in Preamble to Indian Constitution
The term socialism was inserted to preamble in 42nd amendment. Socialism in reality refers to some form of ownership of means of production and distribution by the state. However the Indian brand of socialism is quite different and holds faith in mixed economy.
Meaning of Secularism in Preamble
Secularism implies that the state is only concerned with relations between various citizens and is not concerned with relations of man with God. Further it means that state has no religion of its own. Also the state will not show partiality and prejudice on account of someone’s faith and religion.
Meaning of Democratic in Preamble
The term “Democratic” implies that government draws its authority from the people. The rulers and hence the government is elected by the citizens and are accountable to them.
Significance of Republic in Preamble : The word Republic implies that the Head of state in India shall be elected person and shall hold office for fixed term. The president of India is the chief executive head of India.
Justice in Preamble : Three type of justice are envisaged in the preamble – social, economical and political. Social justice signifies that state doesn’t discriminates among different classes of society on grounds of caste, creed, religion or sex. Economic justice signifies that all citizens are free to choose a profession of their choice. Sate can not differentiate between two person on the name of economic status. Political freedom means all the citizens shall receive equal opportunity for political process and their shall be no discrimination whatsoever for practicing political process in country.
Liberty in the preamble represents freedom to perform activities for all citizens. However this freedom to perform activities should be in constitutional limits.
Equality in the preamble signifies that every citizens receives equal opportunities from the state. Equality may be either in terms of profession, civic or political. The state does not act biased between individual and treat everyone the same.
Fraternity in the preamble is used to signify the closeness, togetherness and bonhomie among the citizens of state. The word fraternity in the preamble was introduced by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar.
Amendment of Preamble
The question of whether the Preamble to Indian Constitution can be amended under article 368 arose for the first time in 1973 in Keshavnanda Bharti Vs State of Kerala case. The supreme court came to the point that Preamble was a part of constitution and hence can be amended subject to condition that basic features in the preamble cannot be amended. The preamble was amended only once in 42nd amendment of Constitution during the Emergency period in 1976. In this amendment the words socialist and secular were also added in the preamble.