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The Preamble Of India

We, The People Of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizen: justice, social, economic and political, Liberty of thoughts, expression, belief, faith and worship; Equality of status and of 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.

It is an integral part of its basic structure. It is loadstar and guides those dealing with its provisions. It can be regarded as a key to the objects and intention. The term 'Preamble' refers to the introduction or preface of our constitution because it contains the summary of the whole constitution. It is the Bible of our constitution.

The preamble has been called the "identification card of our constitution" by N.A. Palkhivala, a distinguished jurist and constitutional expert.

Interpretation By The Supreme Courts

The constitution's power was derived from the people of India, as stated in the preamble:Interpretation By The Supreme Courts We the people of India. The constitution was enacted on November 26, 1949, and went into effect on January 26, 1950, according to the preamble.
  1. Sovereign:
    We, the people of India emphasise the republican and democratic character of the polity and that all power ultimately stems from the people. It is by the people, of the people and for the people. The framers of the constitution attached importance to the people. It has sovereignty meaning the independent authority. We are not under any other state or Government. Full sovereignty implies independence from foreign control. The constitution is to secure certain objects set forth in the Preamble.
  2. Social Justice:
    Social Justice is the recognition of greater good to a larger number without deprivation or accrual of legal rights of any body. If such a thing can be done, then social justice must prevail over any technical rule. As between two parties, if a deal is made with one party without serious detriment to the other, then the Court would lean in favour of the weaker section of the society.

    The constitutional concern of social justice as an elastic, continuous process is to accord justice to all sections of the society by providing facilities and opportunities to remove handicaps and disabilities with which the poor etc. are languishing and secure dignity of their person. Social justice is the comprehensive form to remove social imbalance by law harmonizing the rival claims or the interests of different groups and/or sections in the social structure or individuals by means of which alone it would be possible to build up a Welfare State. Social justice is the order and economic justice is the rule of the day.
  3. Distributive Justice:
    The concept 'distributive justice' connotes the removal of economic inequalities and rectifying the injustice resulting from dealings or transactions between unequals in society. It comprehends more than lessening of inequalities by differential taxation, giving debt relief or regulation of contractual relations; it also means the restoration of properties to those who have been deprived of them by unconscionable bargains; it may also take the form of forced redistribution of wealth as a means of achieving a fair division of material resources among the members of society. The ideal of economic justice is to make equality of status meaningful and life worth living at its best, removing inequality of opportunity and of status-social, economic and political. Social justice and equality are complementary. Rule of law is a potent instrument of social justice.
  4. Secularism:
    The Constitution abolished all distinctions on the ground of religion, by the Equality of classes. The Constitution, however, safeguards the individual as well as collective rights of minorities in a host of provisions which are justiciable, and if any of them are violated they can obtain effective remedy through the courts of law.

    The secularism is basic feature of our constitution. All persons shall be equally entitled to the freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practice and propagate religion. Secularism does not mean to be non-religious or not having faith in God. Concept of secularism is one facet of the right to equality woven as the central golden thread. Provides security to followers of all religions.

    The word secularism used in the preamble of the Constitution is reflected in provisions contained in Articles 25 to 30 and Part IVA added to the Constitution containing Article 51A prescribing fundamental duties of the citizens. It has to be understood on the basis of more than 68 years experience of the working of the Constitution.

    The complete neutrality towards religion and apathy for all kinds of religious teachings in institutions of the State have helped in removing mutual misunderstanding and intolerance inter se between sections of people of different religions, faiths and beliefs. Secularism, therefore, is susceptible to a positive meaning that is developing understanding and respect towards different religions.

    The essence of secularism is non-discrimination of people by the State on the basis of religious differences. Secularism can be practised by adopting a complete neutral approach towards religions or by positive approach by making one section of religious people to understand and respect religion and faith of another section of society. It teaches Co-existence and each one is right and free.
  5. Liberty, Equality & Fraternity:
    The state in a democratic society derives its strength from the cooperative and dispassionate will of all its free and equal citizens. Social and economic democracy is the foundation on which political democracy would be a way of life in the Indian polity. Liberty should be coupled with social restraint and subordinated to the liberty of the greatest number for common happiness.

    Fraternity is an instrument for assuring:
    1. the dignity of the individual and
    2. the unity and integrity of the Nation.

    It has a twofold application, with reference to (a) the 'backward classes! and (b) the religious minorities. Liberty, equality and fraternity have to be secured and protected with social justice and economic empowerment and political justice to all the citizens under the rule of law. It is to provide liberty, freedom, equality and fraternity between persons belonging to different religions. Fraternity, comprehends with all human relationship and human kinds necessary for constituting human society in general and every individual unit, big or small, of the human society in particular.

Interpretation By The Supreme Courts

Kesavananda Bharti v State of Kerala ( AIR 1973 SC 1461)[i]
It was decided by a thirteen-judge panel (the largest Constitution bench).

In this instance, the government's interference with citizens' right to property was also discussed. Some constitutional amendments were made in 1971-72, as a result of which two Kerala Acts on Land Reform were added to the 9th Schedule. In this case, the amendments were challenged.

Court said three important things in this case:
  1. SC said that Parliament can amend the whole Constitution including fundamental rights.
  2. But the basic structure of Constitution cannot be amended.
  3. Basic structure was defined & specified in this case. E.g. Judicial Review

Indira Nehru Gandhi V Raj Narain (AIR 1975)
Prior to this case, the Allahabad High Court had declared Indira Gandhi's election illegitimate due to fraud. The Supreme Court overturned the Allahabad High Court's decision. While this case was being tried, the 39th Amendment Act was passed, which included Article 329A.

Judicial Review is prohibited in situations relating to elections, according to Article 329A.

Article 329A was challenged in this case. By calculating all these things, SC said that the basic structure of Indian Constitution is Democracy which means free and fair election. To continue this basic structure, Rule of law and Judicial Review are essential.

So, while striking down Article 329A, SC said that Rule of law, Democracy and Judicial Review are part of the basic structure and no amendment can be done to them.

Golaknath v State of Punjab (AIR 1967; decided on 27th Feb 1967)
It was decided by an eleven-judge panel. The Golaknath family held 500 acres of land in this instance. However, the Land Tenure Act only enabled them to keep a small fraction of the 500 acres, with the remainder being confiscated by the government. The land tenure act was challenged in this case. According to Article 19 of the Constitution, citizens have a basic right to property.

  • P.M. BAKSHI, The Constitution of India, 14th Edition, Universal law publication.
  • M.P. JAIN, Indian Constitutional law, 8th Edition, LexisNexis.
  • V.N.SHUKLA's, Constitution of India, 13th Edition, EBC.

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