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“Preamble Of The Indian Costitution”



BBA-LLB (4th-SEM.)

Roll No.: 31



After the attainment of independence the people of India were looking for a government of
their own to fulfill the aspirations they had cherished during the freedom struggle. As the
leaders had promised that after the independence India will have a government based on the
ideas of democracy and justice, it was hence, necessary to give a proper shape to these ideas
and ideals. These were enshrined by the Constituent Assembly in the Constitution of India.

The Preamble to an Act sets out the main objectives which the legislation is
intended to achieve. It is a son of introduction to the statute and many a times very helpful to
understand the policy and legislative intent. It expresses "what we had thought or dreamt for
so long"1. The Constitution-makers gave to the Preamble "the place of pride". It embodies in
a solemn form all the ideals and aspirations for which the country had struggled during the
British regime. In re Berubari case2, the Supreme Court has said that the Preamble to the
Constitution is a key to open the mind of the makers, and shows general purpose for which
they made the several provisions in the Constitution

The term 'Preamble' means the introduction to the Statute. It is the

introductory part of the Constitution.3 The Preamble generally sets the ideals and goals which
the makers of the constitution intend to achieve through the constitution. Therefore, it is also
regarded as the key to open the mind of the makers of the Constitution which may show the
general purposes for which they made several provisions in the Constitution. 4 For these
reasons the Preamble is also a legitimate aid in the interpretation of the provisions of the

In simple words the Preamble serves as an introduction to the Constitution and

highlights in brief the basic ideas for which the constitution stands and what the frames of the
Constitution sought out to achieve for the citizens of India.

Sir Alladi Krishnasawami-Constituent Assembly Debates. Vol . 10, 417.
AIR 1960 SC 845
Collins, New Gem Dictionary, 1965, page-401.
Berubari Union and Exchange of Enclaves, Re, AIR 1960 SC 845,856: (1960) 3 SCR 250.



WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India

to secure to all its citizens:

JUSTICE, social, economic 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 the individual and the ‘unity and
integrity’6 of the Nation;

IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this twenty-sixth day of November,


Subs. by the Constitution (Forty-second Amendment) Act, 1976, s. 2, for “SOVEREIGN DEMOCRAIC REPUBLIC”
(w.e.f. 3-1-1977).

Subs. by s. 2., ibid., for “unity of the Nation” (w.e.f. 3-1-1977).


The Preamble is the key to open the mind of the makers. But it does not mean that the
Preamble can override the express provisions of the Act. In Berubari case the Supreme Court
held that the Preamble was not a part of the Constitution and therefore it could never be
regarded as a source of any substantive powers. Such powers are expressly granted in the
body of Constitution. What is true about the powers is equally true about the prohibitions. It
has limited application and can be resorted to where there is any ambiguity in the statute. If
the terms used in the Constitution are ambiguous or capable of two meanings in interpreting
them some assistance may be taken from the objectives enshrined in the Constitution and the
construction which fits the Preamble may be preferred.

But in Kesavananda Bliarati's case7, the Supreme Court rejected the above view and
held that the Preamble is the part of the Constitution. Though in any ordinary statute not
much importance is attached to the Preamble, all importance has to be attached to the
Preamble in a Constitutional Statute. Sikri,C.J., observed, "no authority has been referred
before us to establish the propositions that what is irue about die powers is equally true about
the prohibitions and limitations. Even from the Preamble limitations have been derived in
some cases. It seems to me that the Preamble of our Constitution is of extreme importance
and the Constitution should be read and interpreted in the light of the grand and noble vision
expressed in the Preamble. "

In fact, the Preamble was relied on in imposing implied limitations on the amending
power of Parliament under Article 368 of the Constitution. In that case, it was held that the
"basic elements" in the Preamble cannot be amended under Article 368. In Randhir Singh v.
Union of India the Supreme Court relying on the Preamble and Articles 14 and 16 held that
Article 39 (a) envisages a constitutional right of "equal pay for equal work" for both men and

Kesavananda Bharti v. State of kerala, AIR1973 SC 1461.


The Preamble serves the following purposes:

(a) It indicates the source from which the Constitution comes, viz., the people of India.

(b) It contains the enacting clause which brings into force the Constitution.

(c) It declares the great rights and freedoms which the people of India intended to secure to

all citizens and the basic type of government and polity which was to be established.8

It is ordained by the people of India through their representatives assembled in a sovereign

Constituent Assembly. The Preamble declares in unambiguous terms that it is the people of
India who have adopted, enacted and given to them the Constitution. It declares, therefore,
that the source of authority under the Constitution is the People of India and there is no
subordination to any external authority.

The Preamble, of the Constitution declares India, to be a "Sovereign Socialist Secular

Democratic, Republic9." Sovereign power is that which is absolute and uncontrolled. In the
words of Cooley, "A State is sovereign where there resides within itself a supreme and
absolute power acknowledging no superior." The word 'sovereign' emphasizes that India is no
more dependent upon any outside authority. However, India is still a member of the
Commonwealth of Nations. But as it has been said, its membership of the Commonwealth of
Nations is not inconsistent with her independent sovereign status.


Kesavananda Bharti v. State of kerala, AIR1973 SC 1461.
Inserted by the Constitution (42nd Amendment

The proceedings in the Constituent Assembly make it clear that the Preamble to our
constitution was enacted and adopted by the same procedure as the rest of the Constitution.
The Preamble was put to vote, in the Constituent Assembly, by a motion which stated that the
"Preamble stands as a part of the Constitution" and the motion was adopted. 11 Referring to the
history of the drafting and the ultimate adoption of the 15 Preamble, the Supreme Court in
Keshvananda Bharti v. State of Kerala case laid down that the Preamble to the Indian
Constitution was an integral part of the Constitution.


1.-Can Preamble be amended under Article 368? — This question was raised for the first
time before the Supreme Court in the historic case of Kesavananda Bharati v. State of
Kerala.10 In that case the Attorney-General argued that by virtue of the amending power in
Article 368 even the Preamble can be amended. It was said that since the Preamble was a part
of the Constitution it could be amended like any other provisions of the Constitution. The
petitioners, however, contended that the amending power in Article 368 is limited. Preamble
creates an implied limitation on the power of amendment. The Preamble contains the basic
elements or the fundamental features of our Constitution, Consequently, amending power
cannot be used so as to destroy or damage these basic features mentioned in the Preamble. It
was urged that Preamble cannot be amended as it is not a part of the Constitution. The
Supreme Court, however, held that the Preamble is a part of the Constitution and, therefore,
on this point the Benibari opinion was wrong.

On the question whether the Preamble can be amended the majority held that since the
Preamble is the part of the Constitution it can be amended but subject to this condition that
the "basic features" in the Preamble cannot be amended. The Court said, "The edifice of our
Constitution is based upon the basic elements mentioned in the Preamble. If any of these
elements are removed the structure will not survive and it will not be the same Constitution or
it cannot maintain its identity. The Preamble declares that the people of India resolved to
constitute their country into a Sovereign Democratic Republic. .No one can suggest that these
words and expressions are ambiguous in any manner. An amending power cannot be
interpreted so as to confer power on the Parliament to take away any of these fundamental
and basic characteristics of policy." It is submitted that this view of the court is correct. The
-amending power cannot change the Constitution in such a way that it ceases to be a
'Sovereign Democratic Republic*. It can only be done by wrecking Constitution.
2.-42nd Amendment and the Preamble.—The amendment has inserted three new words in the
Preamble,i.e., Secularism, Socialism and Integrity. These concepts were already implicit in
the Constitution. The amendment merely spells out clearly these concepts in the Preamble.
Kesavananda Bharti v. State of kerala, AIR1973 SC 1461.

Socialism is implicit in the Preamble and the directive principle of the Constitution. The term
"economic justice" in the Preamble denotes nothing but India's resolve to bring socio-
economic revolution. The Directive Principles, particularly Article 39 (b) and (c) of the
Constitution are Charters, of social and economic liberties of the people. The word 'socialism'
has, however, no definite meaning. It has been invariably used in both the types of
Constitutions—democratic and communistic. Generally, the term implies a system of
government in which the means of production is wholly or partially controlled by the State,
India's socialism is, however, a democratic socialism and not a 'communistic socialism'. For
this purpose, the Preamble has combined both the words. Socialism and Democracy in the
Preamble. This combination of the words; socialism and democracy have been criticized by
many writers. It has been said that democracy and socialism cannot co-exist. This criticism is,
however, not justified in view of the gradual change of thinking of the modern socialists.
Their thinking is-in line with the idea of a welfare State which would prevent only the excess
of exploitation and free competition without destroying individual initiative and without
detriment to the political freedoms. It is thus, marriage of democracy and socialism which has
been embedded in the Indian Constitution.11


Will of the People of India:--

The Constitution, as its preamble states, is a creation of the will of "the People of India" who
have, as the preamble enunciates, solemnly resolved to constitute India into a "Sovereign
Democratic Republic." The idea of sovereignty involves freedom from all foreign control or
domination. The idea of democracy involves freedom from all internal control or domination.
Both ideas combined together reassert the sovereignty and paramountacy of the people's will
over everything. The same has been taken up from the Constitution of the United States of
America and the United Nations Charter.

In other terms the words "We, the People of India" declare in unambiguous terms that the
Constitution has been adopted, enacted and given to themselves by the people of India.Its
declared that ultimate sovereignty in India, resides in the people themselves.

Mr. Nehru, speaking in the Constituent Assembly, explained the significance of these words.
He explained that the word 'People' indicated that the Constitution was not created by the
States, nor by the people of the several States, but by the people of India in their aggregate
capacity. So enacted, it would not be open to any State, or group of States either to put an end
to our Constitution or to secede from the Union created by it.



V.S. Deshpande-Right and Duties under the Indian Constitution, (15 JILI 1973, page-94)

As defined by R.H. Soltan12,"Sovereignty is the exercise of the final legal coercive power of
the State." According to another definition by Woodrow Wilson19, "Sovereignty is the daily
operative power of framing and giving efficiency to the laws."

In other words "sovereign" stands for the power which is absolute and uncontrolled
within its own sphere13. In the words of Cooley, "A State is sovereign when there resides
within itself a supreme absolute power, acknowledging no superior."The term 'sovereign'
used in the Preamble seems to have been taken from Article 5 of the Constitution of Ireland.

The word "sovereign" emphasizes that India is no more dependent upon any outside,
authority. However, India is still a member of the Commonwealth of Nations but its
membership of the Commonwealth of Nations is not inconsistent with her independent
sovereign status14 and it is merely a voluntary association of India and it is open to India to
cut off this association at her will, and that it has no Constitutional significance.

In very simple and concise terms we can say that the intention behind inserting the
word "sovereign" into the Preamble was to highlight the face that India is not dependent on
any outside authority and that both externally and internally India is a sovereign. India
recognizes no foreign power as its master.
Sociallst :-

The term 'Socialist' was added to the Preamble of the Constitution of India by the
Constitution (42ndAmendment) Act, 1976. The term 'Socialist' literally relates to the theory
advocating state ownership and control of means of ownership and control of means of
production, distribution and exchange. But the term is used in a different sense in the
Constitution. Mrs. Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister, explained that the term 'socialist
'was used simply to indicate that the goal of the State in India was to secure 'a better life for
the people of India' or 'equality of opportunity'. She, thus, made it clear that India had her
own concept of socialism and all she wanted was a better life for her people.

In D.S. Nakara v. Union of India, the Court observed that "the basic framework of
socialism is to provide a descent standard of life to the working people and especially provide
from cradle to grave. This amongst others on economic side envisaged economic equality and
equitable distribute on of income." The principal aim of a socialist State, the Supreme Court
held, was to eliminate inequality in income and status and standard of life.

Thus we can say that democratic socialism aims to end poverty, ignorance, disease
and inequality of opportunity.

The real meaning of secularism in the language of Gandhi is Sarva-Dharma-Sambhav
meaning equal treatment and respect for all religions, but we have misunderstood the
meaning of secularism as Sarva-Dharma-Sam-bhav meaning negation of all religions. 15 The

Myneni, S.R.; Political Science for Law Students, 2 nd Edition, allahbad Law Agency, 2006, page-100
Kumar Narender; Constitutional Law of India, allahbad Law Agency, 2008, page-27
Pandey, J. N.; The Constitution of India,47th Edition, Central Law Agency, Allahabad, 2010, page-31
Majumdar, P.K. and kararia, R.P.; Commentary on the Constitution of India, 10 th Edition Volume 1,Orient
Publishing Company, Allahabad, 2009,page-196.

term Secularism explains that the State does not recognize any religion as a State religion and
that it treats all religions equally with equal individual rights for faith, religion or worship.
As put in simple words by the Supreme Court of India "Our concept of Secularism, to put in a
nutshell, is that the State will have no religion."

The concept of Secularism is also contained in Articles 25 to 30 of the Constitution by way of

Right to Freedom of Religion. The Supreme Court in St. Xavier's College v. State of Gujarat,
explained that India "is neither anti-God, nor pro-God; it treats alike the devout, the
antagonistic and the atheist. It eliminates God from the matters of the State and ensures that
no one shall be discriminated against on the ground of religion. "That every person if free to
go to the God or Heaven in his own ways. And, that worshipping God is left to be dictated by
his own conscience.

Secularism is declared to be the one of the basic features of the Constitution, which is beyond
the amending power of the Parliament.lt means honoring all religions.To sum it up we can
say that the Constitution of India recognizes no religion and treats all religions equally and
encourages one to practice the religion of his choice.

The term democracy has been derived from the Greet root 'demos' which means 'the people':
'Kratos' stands for 'rule' or 'government'. Thus literally, democracy signifies 'the rule of the
people.'The definition given by Abraham Lincoln reads "Democracy is the government of the
people, by the people, and for the people."

The Constitution of India sets up India a "Democratic Republic". Democracy may be

properly defined as that form of Government in the administration, of which the mass of adult
population has some direct or indirect share, The Supreme Court in Mohan Lal v. Dist.
Magistrate Rai Bareilly, observed: "Democracy is a concept, a political philosophy, an ideal
practiced by many nations culturally advanced and politically mature by resorting to
governance by representatives of the people elected directly or , indirectly." Democracy thus
may be direct or indirect. In the case mentioned above it was also inferred that direct
democracy is one where the people directly exercise their power of the government and
carryon the government and change the government by their direct vote. In an indirect
democracy, the people elect their representatives who carryon the administration of the
government directly.

The Supreme Court in the case of Union of India v. Association for Democratic Reforms,
observed: "a successful democracy posits an 'aware' citizenry". "Democracy cannot survive
without free and fair elections, without free and fairly informed voters/'This clearly
emphasizes the value of the power bestowed upon the citizens of India to elect the
government which is also essential for the functioning of the democracy.

The term Republic is used in distinction to 'Monarchy’. 16 In other words India is are public
because the head of the State is not a hereditary monarch. Hence, in India the head of State is
not a heredity position as seen in the case of the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great
Britain and Northern Ireland; the head of the state in India is an elected person who is elected

Kumar Narender; Constitutional Law of India, allahbad Law Agency, 2008, page-32

by the citizens of India. The Constitution of India sets up in India a 'republican form of
Government', in which, the ultimate power resides in the body of the people, enfranchised by
universal adult franchise. The President of India is the Executive Head of the State, is elected
by the people and holds office for a term of five years.


The Preamble to the Constitution of India secured to all its citizens:-

Justice-Social, economic and political

Liberty- Of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship
Equality - Of status and of opportunity
Fraternity- Assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of
These ideals of the Constitution are detailed in the headings to follow.

Justice (social, economic and political:--

The expression "Justice" briefly speaking is the harmonious reconcilement of individual

conduct with the general welfare of the society. An act or conduct of a person is said to be
just if it promotes the general well-being of the community. Therefore, the attainment of the
common good as distinguished from the good of individuals is the essence of justice.
The Constitution of India professes to secure to the citizens:

Social Justice
Economic Justice
Political Justice

Social Justice means the abolition of all sorts of inequalities which may result the inequalities
of wealth, opportunity, status, race, religion, caste, title and the like. To achieve this ideal of
social justice, the Constitution lays down the Directives Principles of State Policy in Part IV
of the Constitution. In the case of Air India Statutory Corporation v.United Labor Union,17
the Supreme Court observed that the aim of social justice was to attain substantial degree of
social, economic and political equality which was the legitimate expectation and
constitutional goal. It was held that social justice was a dynamic device to mitigate the
sufferings of the poor, weak, dalits, tribal's and deprived sections of the society and to elevate
them to the level of equality, to live a life with dignity of person. The Court ruled that the
Preamble and Article 38 of the Constitution envisioned social justice as the arch to ensure life
to be meaningful and livable with human dignity.

Liberty (of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship):--

Liberty has been derived from the Latin word 'liber' which means free. The idea of Liberty
came to the forefront with the French Revolution in 1789 and the leaders defined liberty as
"the power to do as anything that does not injure another is liberty."18
AIR 1997 SC 645
Myneni, S.R.; Political Science for Law Students, 2 nd Edition, allahbad Law Agency, 2006, page-168

The term liberty' is used both in a negative as well as positive sense. As a negative
concept liberty means the absence of all undue or arbitrary % interference with individual's
action on the part of the State. In positive sense, liberty comprises of liberties or rights which
are considered essential for an individual to attain his potentialities and for the perfection of
the national life. The Constitution of India professes to secure the liberty of thought,
expression, belief, faith and worship, which are regarded essential to the development of the
individual in the Nation.

The same principal is reflected in Articles 25-28 of the Constitution which talk about
the Right to Freedom of Religion and Article 19 (1) (a) which talks about the liberty in the
field of expression.

Equality (of status and of opportunity):-

Equality is the basis of democracy like equality. The formulation of the doctrine is the
product of eighteenth century. In the American Declaration of Independence (1776), it is
described that "we hold these truths to be self -evident that all men are created equal/' The
Declaration of Rights of Man (1789) issued by the National Assembly in France during the
French Revolution states that "Men are born, and always continue, free and equal in respect
of their rights. Equal opportunities to all are necessary for the fullest development of
personality of the people.

Equality of status and of opportunity is secured to the people of India by abolishing

all distinctions or discriminations by the State, between citizen and citizen, on the ground of
religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth and by throwing open 'public places' to all the
citizens.19 This has been provided for in the Articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution of India
and the same talk about equality before law and prohibition of discrimination.

The Constitution also abolishes untouchability and titles by the Articles 17 and 18
respectively. This helps in securing equality of opportunity in the matters relating to
employment or appointment to any office under the State under Article 16 of the Constitution
of India.


Fraternity means a feeling of brotherhood, brotherliness, a feeling that all people are
children of the same soil, the same motherland. The term was also inspired by the French
Revolution and was added to the Preamble by the Drafting Committee of the Constituent

Kumar Narender; Constitutional Law of India, allahbad Law Agency, 2008, page-34

Assembly because, "The Committee felt that the need for fraternal concord and goodwill in
India was never greater than now and that this particular aim of the new constitution should
be emphasized by special mention in the Preamble”.20

There is no express provision in the Constitution which reflects r 'fraternity as an

object. However, there are provisions in the Constitution, such as common citizenship, the
right of the citizen of India to move freely, to reside and settle in any part of the territory of
India, etc., which generate their spirit of brotherhood.

The dignity of the individual is to be maintained for the promotion of , fraternity.

Therefore, the Preamble assures the dignity of each and every individual. This dignity is
assured by securing to each individual equal fundamental right and at the same time laying
down a number of Directives for the State which directs the State policies towards betterment
of citizens.

The Unity and Integrity of the Nation sounds the concern of the founding fathers of
the Constitution regarding the maintenance of the Independence of the nation as well as the
success of the democracy in India. Therefore, while securing rights and freedoms for the
individuals, they incorporated in the Constitution elaborate provisions conferring on the State
overriding powers in the form of emergency provisions as to help contain any forces
threatening and endangering the unity and integrity of the country. India has been declared as
a Union of States and is intended to put an end to the separatist tendencies.


Last part of preamble is the date of adoption which shows that our constitution is adapted on
26th day of November 1949.


To conclude I would like to highlight that the Preamble highlights the very principles which

the Constitution works on and the objectives which the same has to achieve. The drafters of

the Constitution also drafted the Preamble as a mirror and an introduction of the same. It
Rao,Shiva; The Farmingof Indian Constitution, N.M. Tripathi Pvt. Ltd., Bombay, 1967, vol-3, page-510, cited in
Kumar Narender; Constitutional Law of India, allahbad Law Agency, 2008, page-34

would not be wrong to say that the spirit of the Constitution is sufficiently summated in the