Define Preamble and its Nature: Sovereign, Secular, Democratic, Socialist, Republic, Justice, etc.

Define Preamble And Its Feature

Define Preamble

The Preamble is the ornamental or decorative part of the Constitution as it is not enforceable in the court of law. The preamble is the essence or summary of the whole constitution. It is based on the Objective Resolution drafted by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. It is the basic values on which the constitution is based. It is the soul of our constitution.

Preamble was enacted by the Constituent Assembly, but after the rest of the constitution already enacted – to ensure its conformity with the constitution.

N. A. Palkhiwala called Preamble as the “identity card of the Constitution”. According to KM Munshi, Preamble is the “horoscope of our sovereign democratic republic”.

Nature of Preamble

  1. The preamble is in the form of a declaration.
  2. It defines the objective of the constitution of India.
  3. It does not give substances power to the government nor it can limit those power.
  4. The preamble cannot overwrite a specific provision of the constitutions
  5. The preamble is subordinate to the constitution.
  6. It declares that the source of all power of the Constitution is with the people of India.
  7. The preamble can neither be a source of power to legislature, nor a prohibition upon the power of the legislature.
  8. The preamble is non-Justiciable and non-enforceable in courts of law.

Preamble as part of the Constitution.

In the Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala case (1973), Supreme Court overwrote its earlier decision and held that the Preamble is a part of the Constitution. Supreme Court laid down the new doctrine of the Basic structure. The Supreme court also held that the Preamble can be amended but the basic features of the constitution cannot be altered by an amendment under Article 368.

The Preamble was amended, only once so far, in 1976 under the 42nd Amendment Act of 1976. Under this amendment,  ‘Socialist’, ‘Secular’ and ‘integrity’ was added to the preamble.

Meaning of Sovereign in Preamble of India

Sovereignty implies that country’s government is totally Independent and does not acknowledge any other power as Supreme with regard to governance of the country, either within its boundaries or internationally.

However, in the era of LPG (Liberalization, Privatization, Globalization) and good governance, no state can be considered entirely sovereign. Membership of international organizations, like the European Union, United Nations, International treaties, etc. put pressure on completely free decision-making.

But the counter view is that even if India appears to budge (to go down) the rules of these organizations and treaties, it is done to serve the larger interest of the country. Also, India had asserted itself against anyone in the interest of the country.

Meaning of Secular in Preamble of India

Secularism means that the state shall not recognize any religion as the official religion of the country. The state is neither religious nor anti-religious, but non-religious. All religions have the right to coexist on the soil of India.

Meaning of Democratic in Preamble of India

India has a representative democracy based on the one Person one Vote principle provided under Article 326. Democracy is truly realized when everybody is heard and made part of large decision making for that to be effective. Even people need to be aware. Thus people need to be educated and employed. E-governance, Right to Information, social audit, responsible media, active civil societies are strengthening democracy.

Meaning of Socialist in Preamble of India

India follows democratic socialism that is achieving socialist goals through democratic principles. Two most important socialist goals in the constitutions are Article 39(b) and Article 39(c).

  • Article 39(b) – Equal distribution of material resources of society
  • Article 39 (c) – Prevent concentration of wealth.

Meaning of Republic in Preamble of India

Republic is a political setup where people are Supreme and there is no hereditary ruler. The head of the state is elected directly or indirectly for a fixed period. For example, India has an elected head of the state called the President of India.

It also means giving vesting sovereignty in the hands of people rather than to a single individual. All public offices open to all citizens without and discrimination.

Meaning of Justice in Preamble of India

Constitution of India ensures comprehensive justice for all that is social, political and economic. The idea of Justice inspired from Russian Revolution.

  1. Social Justice means equal treatment of all citizens without any social discrimination mentioned the constitution.
  2. Economic Justice means non-discrimination between people on basis of economic condition.
  3. Political Justice denotes equal political rights to all citizens

Meaning of Equality in Preamble of India

Equality refers to equality of status and opportunity. It means equal opportunities to all people without any discrimination. It also means absence of privilege to any particular section of society.

Meaning of Liberty in Preamble of India

Liberty means the absence of arbitrary power exercised by the government over the activities of individuals. The idea of liberty, equality, and fraternity is taken from French Revolution.

Meaning of Fraternity in Preamble of India

Fraternity means a sense of Brotherhood that prevails among all the people of India. It is essential to protect the unity and integrity of India. According to KM Munshi, also means that the personality of every individual is sacred. The fraternity mentioned in the preamble of Indian assures two things:

  1. The dignity of the individual
  2. The unity and integrity of the nation.

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