Almost every constitution of the world begins with a preamble. Preamble is just as a preliminary statement or preface before a book. According to Collins New Gem dictionary 1965 the term ‘Preamble’ means the introduction to the statute it contains the main objectives which the legislation is intending to achieve Preamble forms basis to understand the various provisions, objectives, goals and aspirations intending to be achieved.The constitution of India also begins with preamble.The Preamble of Constitution of India declare-
We the people of India having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a Sovereign, Socialist, Secular Democratic Republic and 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 the integrity of the nation;
In our Constituent Assembly this 26th day of November, 1949 do hereby, Adopt, Enact and Give to Ourselves this Constitution.
Importance of Preamble.
The Preamble of the Constitution is of utmost importance it embodies all the ideals and aspirations for which the country had struggle during the British regime the constitution makers gave to the Preamble the place of pride. In Re berubari Union case the Supreme Court has said that Preamble to the constitution is a key to open the mind of the makers and shows the general purpose for which they made the several provisions in the constitution. In the same case the Supreme Court has also held that Preamble was not a part of the constitution and therefore it could never be regarded as a source of any substantive powers, it has limited application and can be restored to where there is any ambiguity in the statue.
But in the case of Keshavananda Bharati Vs State of Kerala A.I.R. 1973 SC 1461 The Supreme Court rejected the view expressed in the berubari case and held that Preamble is a part of the constitution. In ordinary statute not much importance is attached to the Preamble, all importance has be attached to the Preamble in a constitutional statute.
Meaning of terms used in the Preamble
Meaning of Sovereign
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.
Meaning of socialist
The word Socialist was not in the Preamble originally it was inserted in Preamble by the constitution 42nd amendment 1976. How these concepts were already implicit in the Constitution in the form of Directive Principles article 39(b) and 39(c), Amendment merely spells out clearly this concepts in the Preamble. It implies the concept of socialism in Constitution. Actor Sushil is generally has no specific meaning but generally it implies a system of government in which the means of production is wholly or partly controlled by the state.
In excel wear versus Union of India AIR 1979 SC. The court held that the addition of the words of list might in a world record screen more in favour of nationalisation and state ownership of an industry.
Meaning of Secularism
The term secular was inserted in the Preamble by the 42nd amendment in 1976 . The concept of secularism was already implicit in the constitution article 25 to 28 of the Constitution guarantee to every person the freedom of concise and right to Profess practice and propagate religion. Secularism means a state which does not recognise any religion as I stated religion. It treats all religions equally.
S R Bommai vs Union of India 1994 SCC the Supreme Court has held that secularism is the basic feature of the constitution.
Meaning of Democratic
The Preamble of the Constitution declares India to be a democratic republic. Democracy means a government which is elected by the people.
Meaning of Republic
The term Republic signify that there shall be a elected head of the state as a chief executive of the head. In India there is a President who is the head of the executive and who is elected by the people of India for a fixed term of 5 years.
Meaning of Justice social economic and political
The preamble of constitution secures to all its citizens justice – social, economic and political.
Here social justice means abolition/removal of all sorts of equalities which may result from the inequalities of wealth opportunity status race religion caste title and the like. (Article 14 to 18)
The expression economic justice means equalities in economic sector. It means equal pay for equal work. It means every person should get just what he did by his labour irrespective of his sex,caste, religion or social status.
The expression political justice means the absence of any unreasonable or arbitrary distinction among men in political matters. The constitution of India has adopted the system of Universal adult suffrage which ensures that every citizen, without any discrimination on the ground of caste, race, sex, religion, decent, place of birth, the right to vote and to contest election and to hold office under the State.
Liberty of thought expression belief faith and worship
The Preamble secure to all its citizens Liberty of thought expression believe faith and worship. It means every citizen of India have freedom of thought and expression they have choice to have faith in any belief and faith and are free to follow any mode of worship.
Equality of status and of opportunity
The Preamble to the constitution of India security its all citizens equality of status and of opportunity. It can be secured to the people by abolishing all distinctions or discriminations by the state between citizen and Citizen on the ground of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth and by throwing open public places to all citizens by abolishing untouchability and titles by securing equality of opportunity in the matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State.
Meaning of fraternity
The term fraternity means the sprit of Brotherhood, a feeling that all people are children of the same soil. Fraternity is feeling of Oneness.
Carefully examine it can be observed that the ultimate and end product of all constitutional concept are fraternity as well as constitutional concepts are aimed at promotive fraternity and without promoting fraternity the unity and integrity cannot be insured and thus any constitutional interpretation has to be incorporated ultimate goal of fraternity.
Meaning of adopts, enact and give to ourselves
‘Adopt‘ means adopting the essence and principle of Constitution.
‘Enact‘ means converting into legal documents.
‘To give ourselves‘ means we will be governed by the Constitution and this the word which clears that Constitution is sovereign. So sovereignty is vested in Constitution not in people of India.
Is Preamble part of Constitution ?
The Preamble is held to be not a part of Constitution by Justice Gajendragadkar by majority in the case of In re Berubari Union case 1960 SCC. But at the same time it was also held that Preamble is key to open the mind of framers of the constitution but at the same time it cannot be a source of powers or limitations. However in Keshavanand Bharati case 1973 (Justice Sikri) the same question was raised and it was held that the Preamble to the constitution of India cannot be read like a Preamble to any statutory document rather the Preamble is as sacrosanct as the rest of constitution. It is a part of Constitution however it still cannot be a source or power limitations though it is an important tool for interpretation. The court also held that even it is a part of constitution in the Preamble cannot be called a provision of constitution and thus any law or executive action cannot be invalidated only on the basis wordings of preamble. The court also held that since Preamble is not a provision it is not the operational part of the Constitution and it cannot be the source of basic structure rather it is merely a manifestation of basic structure. The actual source of basic structure has to be seen in the provisions of constitution.
Amendment in Preamble
Even if Preamble is not considered to be a provision for Keshvanand Bharti judgement but it will be amended by the proceedings of Article 368 of only and to that extent Preamble will be considered to be provision. A positive amendment is quite possible and it can be amended to make basic structure More Explicit as was done by the 42nd amendment.
In Preamble originally 81 words were used after 42nd Constitution amendment Act 1976, new four words has been added to Preamble now it is of 85 words. The four words are Socialist, Secular, And , Integrity. Numerically it is 4 but in essence it is three words i.e. Socialist, Secular, Integrity.