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Constitutional Value of Preamble

Why is it that the Preamble is the soul of the Constitution? The answer is simple. Preamble reflects the core values that makes our constitution.

The components of the Preamble are:

  1. It shows the people that they have the authority to elect their representatives and also have a right to criticize them.
  2. It states that the nature of the Indian state is Sovereign Socialist Republic Secular Democratic.
  3. The objectives of the Constitution are justice, liberty, equality and fraternity to maintain the integrity and unity of the nation as well as the citizens.
  4. Lastly, it gives the date of its adoption and that is 26th of November, 1949. The Preamble isn't enforceable by the Courts but, when we talk about it in respect of the Constitution then, the Courts use the Preamble as a light to guide us in the interpretation of the Constitution.

This article talks about the basic definition of preamble. Then we discuss about the Preamble of the Constitution and also the historical background of the Preamble. We then learn about the objectives of the Indian Constitution written in the Preamble and also about the key words Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic.

This article also talks about the only time this Preamble got amended .i.e. about the 42nd Amendment Act, 1976.We'll also discuss some of the most important cases in this article. Now, the question which is to be answered through this article is: Whether the Preamble is an integral part of the Constitution?

Basic definition of a preamble is that it is an introductory statement which highlights the principles and values of the document. It also mentions the source of authority of the said document.

So, the Preamble to the Constitution gives an introduction of the Constitution of India which mentions the rules and regulations to be followed by the people of the country. The preamble can be said to be the beginning of the Constitution which basically highlights the structure of the Constitution.

Before Independence, India was in two parts 11 Provincial States ruled by the Britishers and Princely States ruled by Indian rulers under the guidance of Britishers. When these two are combined, Union of India is formed. The Constituent Assembly of this Union of India has written the principles based on which the Preamble has been formed.

The Preamble to the Constitution is based on the Objective Resolution given by Jawaharlal. Nehru.HeintroducedthisresolutionintheConstituentAssemblyon13thDecember,1946but, it got acceptance on 22nd January, 1947.

The committee concluded that the Preamble should be limited in defining important features, principles and stating the objectives and the other matters that are of importance are to be mentioned in the Constitution. The committee also changed the motto to Sovereign Democratic Republic same as in the resolution.

Preamble: The Soul Of The Constitution

The Preamble gives us the objectives of the Constitution so, the main objective of the Indian Constitution is to spread harmony all around the nation. As we know, the Constitution is the highest law to be followed and it helps to maintain integrity and unity among the citizens so as to help build a great nation.

The factors which helps the people in achieving the objectives are:

  • Justice:

    The term 'Justice' has 3 main elements that complete the entire definition, which are social, economic, and political. Justice between the citizens is important so as to maintain order in society. Justice has been promised through the various provisions of Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of State Policy provided by the Constitution of India.
  • Social Justice:

    Social justice means that the Constitution wants to make a society where there is no discrimination on grounds like caste, creed, gender, religion, etc. Where people can have equal social status by helping out the under privileged people of the society. The Constitution will try to eliminate all the exploitations which harm equality in the society.
  • Economic Justice:

    Economic Justice means there should be no discrimination among people on the basis of their wealth, income, or economic status. It basically means that wealth must be divided on the basis of the work done, not on any other reason. Each person should be paid equally for same position and every person should get equal opportunities to earn a living.
  • Political Justice:

    Political Justice means that every person has an equal, free and fair right without any form of discrimination to take part in political openings. It means everyone has equal rights to gain access to any political office and have a chance of equal participation in the processes of the government.

    Nehru said in 1956:
    Democracy has been spoken of chiefly in the past, as political democracy, roughly represented by every person having a vote. But a vote by itself does not represent very much to a person who is down and out, to a person, let us say, who is starving and hungry. Political democracy, by itself, is not enough except that it may be used to obtain a gradually increasing measure of economic democracy, equality and the spread of good things of life to others and removal of gross inequalities.
  • Equality

    The term Equality means there should be no section of society that has any kind of special privilege and all the people should be given equal opportunities for everything without any discriminations. It means excluding all kinds of discriminations from society to make a healthy environment for everyone to live in. Everyone should be equal before the law.
  • Liberty

    The term 'Liberty' means freedom for the people to choose how to live their life, have any political views and also how to behave in the society. It means there is no unreasonable restrictions imposed on the citizens on the basis of their thoughts, feelings, and views. But liberty does not mean one can do anything, there has to be alimit set by the law. Anything that can cause public disorder won't come under the purview of liberty. These limits are set by the Constitution to avoid any injury caused in the name of liberty.
  • Fraternity

    The term 'Fraternity' means a feeling of union and loving relations with the country and allof its people. It refers to a bond that helps in believing that everyone are children from the same soil and are all connected with each other. This union is above all social norms or regulations, as it is the relationship way past all these caste, age, or gender. Fraternity helps in promoting the feeling of dignity and unity in the nation.

    Dr B R Ambedkar, in his last speech in the Constituent Assembly, had said, Political democracy cannot last unless there lies at the base of its social democracy. What does democracy mean? It means away of life which recognizes liberty, equality and fraternity which are not to be treated as separate it emsina trinity. They forma union of trinity in the sense that to divorce one from the other is to defeat the very purpose of democracy. Liberty cannot be divorced from equality; equality cannot be divorced from liberty. Nor can liberty and equality be divorced from fraternity.

    The Key Words in the Preamble Sovereign

    The Preamble of the Constitution points out that India is a Sovereign State. The term 'Sovereign'means the independent authority of the state. It means the state has absolute control on each and every subject and no external authority or power can control it. So, the legislature of our country has the powers to make laws in the country with restrictions keeping in mind imposed by the Constitution.

    Generally, sovereignty has 2 types: External and internal. External sovereignty means the independence of the state against other states; while internal sovereignty talks about the relationship between the state and its people.

    In the case of Synthetic & Chemicals Ltd. v. the State of Uttar Pradesh, the Supreme Court held that the word 'sovereign' means that the state has the power to decide over everything within some restrictions given by the Constitution. Sovereign means supreme or independent power. This case has helped in differentiating between different types of sovereign. This case decided that 'No country can have its own constitution unless it is not sovereign'. 1
  • Socialist

    The term Socialist was added into the Preamble after the 42nd Amendment, 1976, during the emergency. The term socialist signifies democratic socialism. It means a political-economic system that gives social, economic, and political justice to the people.

    Mrs.Indira Gandhi explained this concept as equality of opportunity or 'better life-style for the people'. She pointed out that socialism is like democracy, everyone has their own set of interpretations but in India, socialism is just a way to make people's lives better.

    In the case of Excel wear v. Union of India, the Supreme Court finds that with the inclusion of the word socialist, a new way has been opened to bend the judgments in the favor of nationalization and state ownership of all the industries. But, the main principle of socialism is that we can't ignore the interests of a different sections of the society majorly the private owners.2

    In the case of D.S. Nakara v. Union of India, the Court held that 'the basic aim of socialism is to give a decent standard of living to the people of the country and to protect all of them from their birth till death'. 3
  • Secular

    The term Secular was also added through the 42nd Amendment Act, 1976, during the emergency. The Constitution states that India is a secular country as the state has not adopted any religion. The citizens have their own point of view in life and are able to choose their own religion as they like.

    The state gives them full freedom to practice any religion of their own choice. The state will treat all religions equally, with equal respect given to all of them. The state will have no right interfering with the people following their choice of religion, faith or idol of worship.

    In the case of S.R. Bommai v. Union of India, the 9-judge bench of the Supreme Court found that the concept of secularism is a basic feature of the Constitution. 4

    In the case of Bal Patil v. Union of India, the Court held that all the religions and each religious group must be treated equally and given equal respect. India is a secular state where people have the right to choose their own religion. But the state itself will have no religion.5

    In the case of M.P. Gopal Krishnan Nair v. the State of Kerala, the Court held that the secular state is different from an atheist society, which means the state will allow every religion and disrespect no one. 6
  • Democratic

    The term Democratic originates from the Greek words demos meaning people and Kratos meaning authority. Which states that the government is built by the people. India is a democratic state as the people will elect their own government at all levels, meaning, union, state, and local or ground level. Everyone can vote irrespective of their caste, creed or gender.

    In the case of Mohan Lal v. District Magistrate of Rai Bareilly, the Court observed that Democracy is a philosophical topic in relation with politics where the people can elect their own representatives to form a government and govern them, where the basic principle is to treat all the minority communities the same as the majority. In this form of government every person holds the same status.7

    In the case of Union of India v. Association of Democratic Reforms, the Court finds that the success of a democracy is when the people are aware. A democratic form of Government won't be able to survive without fair elections as it is the soul of democracy. Democracy can also improve the way of living by protecting the dignity of humans, equality, and the rule of law.8
  • Republic

    India has a republic form of government as the head is elected and i snot a hereditary monarch like a king or queen. The term Republic is originated from res publica that means public or the commonwealth. It means the power to elect the head of the state for a fixed term lies within the people of the country. So, in conclusion, the word republic means that the head of state is chosen by the people rather than any birth right of some people.

Is Preamble a part of the Constitution?

This is a very debatable topic as there has been much scrutiny about the preamble being part of the Constitution.

This debate can only be finished with the help of the following cases
  • Berubari Union Case 9
    Berubari Case was used as a mention under Article 143(1) of the Constitution which was on the execution of the Indo-Pakistan Agreement related to Berubari Union and in swapping off the enclaves which were decided for consideration by the bench consisting of 8 judges.

    Through this case, the Court concluded that 'Preamble is the key to open the mind of the makers', but it can't be considered as the part of the Constitution.
  • Kesavananda Bharati Case 10
    This case made history as for the first time a bench of 13 judges was gathered to hear a writ petition. The Court held that:
    1. The Preamble of the Constitution will now be considered as a part of the Constitution.
    2. The Preamble is not the ultimate power or source of any curbs, but it plays a vital role in interpreting statutes and provisions of the Constitution.
      So, it can be concluded that preamble is part of the Constitution.
  • In the LIC of India case11, the Supreme Court upheld its judgment on pointing out that preamble is a part of the Constitution.
    So, in the end, the preamble of the Constitution is considered a beautiful preface to this document as it contains all the basic information like the objective and principles of the Constitution.
After the decision for the Kesavananda Bharati case, it was agreed that the preamble is part of the Constitution. So, as a part of the Constitution, it can be amended as per Article 368 of the Constitution, but the basic structure of the preamble can't be amended. Because the structure of the Constitution is based on the basic principles of the Preamble. As of now, the preamble has only been amended once through the 42nd Amendment Act, 1976.

42nd Amendment Act, 1976
The 42nd Amendment Act, 1976 was the only act ever to amend the preamble of the Constitution. In 1976, new additions were made in the preamble with 'socialist' and 'secular' being added between 'sovereign' and 'democratic', and 'integrity' added to 'Unity of the Nation'.

As we are now concluding this article, I just want to say that Preamble is a base over which this constitution stands so, if there are changes made to the preamble the, the constitution can't stand still on it and the whole system will suffer. So, from this statement we can easily say that the Preamble is an integral part of the Constitution answering our main question. This was supported by the cases mentioned in the article � Berubari case, Kesavananda case and also LIC of India case.

  • ution_26.11.2020.pdf (Last accessed on 21st August, 2021 @ 1 pm)
  • accessed on 22nd August, 2021 @ 3 pm)
  • does-it-mean-to-india-and-its-constitution-6232014/ (Last accessed on 22nd August, 2021 @ 5 pm)
  1. 1990 AIR 1927, 1989 SCR (1) 623
  2. 1979 AIR 25, 1979 SCR (1) 1009
  3. 1983 AIR 130, 1983 SCR (2) 165
  4. 1994 AIR 1918, 1994 SCC (3) 1
  5. Appeal (civil) 4730 of 1999 (Decided on 29th July, 2004)
  6. 2005 11 SCC 45
  7. 1993 AIR 2042, 1992 SCR (3) 338
  8. 2002 (3) SCR 294
  9. AIR 1960 SC 845, 1960 3 SCR 250
  10. 1973 4 SCC 225, AIR 1973 SC 1461
  11. 1995 AIR 1811, 1995 SCC (5) 482

Award Winning Article Is Written By: Ms.Sejal Sarna - B.COM LLB (H) - 3rd Year Amity Law School, Noida
Awarded certificate of Excellence
Authentication No: SP125123088573-08-0921

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