Preamble

The Preamble reveals four ingredients or components:

  1. Source of authority of the Constitution: The Preamble states that the Constitution derives its authority from the people of India.
  2. Nature of Indian State: It declares India to be of a sovereign, socialist, secular democratic and republican polity.
  3. Objectives of the Constitution: It specifies justice, liberty, equality and fraternity as the objectives.
  4. Date of adoption of the Constitution: It stipulates November 26, 1949 as the date.
The Preamble embodies the basic philosophy and fundamental values—political, moral and religious—on which the Constitution is based.
Preamble as Part of the Constitution:
  1. Berubari Union case (1960): Supreme Court specifically opined that Preamble is not a part of the Constitution.
  2. Kesavananda Bharati case (1973): The Supreme Court rejected the earlier opinion and held that Preamble is a part of the Constitution. It observed that the Preamble 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.
  3. LIC of India case18 (1995): The Supreme Court again held that the Preamble is an integral part of the Constitution.
 
Two things should be noted:
  1. The Preamble is neither a source of power to legislature nor a prohibition upon the powers of legislature.
  2. It is non-justiciable, that is, its provisions are not enforceable in courts of law.
In Kesavananda Bharati case SC held that Preamble can be amended, subject to the condition that no amendment is done to the ‘basic features’. The Preamble has been amended only once so far, in 1976, by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act, which has added three new words—Socialist, Secular and Integrity—to the Preamble.
Recent Issue: Government advertisement of Preamble (earlier version: did not contained words – Socialist, Secular, and Integrity) on 66th Republic day has caught up into a controversy in which different political leaders are providing their own views on whether the two words should be retained or not.
Historical significance-
  1. 42nd amendment act was brought in 1976 during the time of emergency
  2. Amendment was done to make the Parliament the supreme sovereign body
  3. To protect the government from legal challenges
  4. Scholars says that the “secular” word was added to secure the rights of minority during the tough period of emergency
 
Views in support of the amendment-
  1. Explicitly says that India is a secular country, which is one of the base on which our democratic society lies
  2. In contemporary India, progressive states are also not free from the taint of chauvinism and communalism, as well as jeopardizing the interests of poor people in the hand of some capitalist class. Thus, words acts as a check on mindless development and communalism
Views against the inclusion of words-
  1. Both are part of the constitution even without the explicit use
  2. Preamble explicitly spoke of securing to all the citizens Justice- social, economic and political means socialist state while give Liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship. If we have this liberty then we are a secular state. Thus, there was no need for the amendment
  3. Art 25, 26 which is a fundament rights in which there can be no state interference, clearly defines that we are a secular state.
  4. DPSP explicitly says that state should protect the interest of its subject, which is one of the attributes of a socialist state
In the light of rumors that the words “socialist” and “secular” would be removed from the preamble of Indian Constitution, critically examine the historical significance of the amendment through which these words were added and what result these words has had on Indian polity since their insertion into the preamble. (200 Words)