University Institute of Legal Studies,P.


Submitted to: Mrs.Shruti Bedi Prof. U.i.l.s ,p.u
Preamble of the Indian Constitution

Submitted by: Megha Chauhan

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University Institute of Legal Studies,P.U

I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude towards this department for the excellent library facilities that have fostered in this research.The huge array of books and journals have helped throughout the making of this project.

I would specially like to thank our Constitution Teacher Mrs Shruti Bedi for her help,support and guidance through the making of this project.

Thanking You! Megha – Chauhan 3/10
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Sr no. 1. Topic Wordings of the Preamble & Meaning Page no. 3


Objective & Purpose of the Preamble



Nature of Preamble in interpretation of the Constitution 5-6


Contents of the Preamble



Significance of the Preamble





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The Preamble declares: WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST1 SECULAR2 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 [integrity of the Nation]3; IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this twenty-sixth day of November, 1949, do HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION.

The Preamble to a Constitution embodies the fundamental values and the philosophy, on which the Constitution is based, and the aims and objectives, which the founding fathers of the Constitution enjoined the polity to strive to achieve. The importance and utility of the Preamble has been pointed out in several decisions of the Supreme Court of India.4

MEANING of PREAMBLE: According to the Collins dictionary „Preamble‟ literally means an introduction to the statute .It is basically an introductory part of the Constitution. A Preamble of a Statute is a key to unlock the legislative intent.5 In re Berubari Union Case ,the Supreme court observed that the Preamble of the Constitution was „ a key to open the mind of the makers and shows the general purposes for which they made the Constitution.‟

Inserted by the Constitution (42nd amendment) Act,1976. lbid 3 lbid 4 5 Musaliar v.Venatachalam,AIR 1956 SC 246
1 2

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OBJECTIVES and PURPOSE Of the Preamble : The main objective of attaching a
Preamble to a Statute is to explain certain facts which are necessary to be explained before the enactments contained in it can be understood.In short,Preamble contains a recital of certain facts relating to the statute .6 The framers of the Constitution gave to the Preamble „the pride of place’.The Preamble was finalized by the Constituent Assembly in the last.The object was to see that it was in conformity with the Constitution as accepted by the Assembly.7 The Preamble contains a noble and a grand vision kept before them by the framers of the Constitution. The spirit or the idealogy behind the Constitution is sufficiently crystallized in the Preamble. The Preamble throws light upon the fundamental objectives of the Constitution,its ideologies and the responsibilities of the Constitution.If a particular provision of the Constitution is not clear in its intention the Court may resort to the Preamble for its interpretation.’The aims which the Constitution wants to realize are explicitly expressed in the Preamble.’- Justice K.Subbarao.

The Preamble of the Indian Constitution indicates three aspects of the Constitution clearly: 1) What is the source of the Constitutional Power? 2) What is the nature of the Indian Government? 3) What are the aims and objectives of the Indian Constitution? Nature of the Preamble: 1). It is in the form of a declaration. 2).It is non-justiciable in character i.e it cannot be enforced in a court of law like Directive Principles. 3).It is an non – operative part of the constitution i.e it cannot prevail over the provisions of the constitution. 4.) It neither confesses substantive powers nor can limit the powers of executive,legislature or judiciary.


D.D Basu (‘Commentary on the Constitution of India’) 1982 p 138


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The Nature of Preamble useful in Interpretation of the Constitution

In re Berubari Union Case 8, The Supreme Court held that the Preamble had never been regarded as the source of any substantive power conferred on the Government or any of its departments .Such powers, the Court said,were expressly granted in the body of the Constitution.It therefore observed that the Preamble had limited application.The court laid down that the Preamble would not be resorted to if the language of the enactment contained in the Constitution was clear.However „if the terms used in any of the articles in the Constitution are ambiguous or are capable of any two meanings in interpreting them some assistance may be sought in the objectives enshrined in the Preamble.

The modern view was however brought about in the Kesavananda Bharati Case 9,The Supreme Court attached much importance to the Preamble.In this case,the main question before the Supreme Court related to the scope of amending power of the Union Parliament under Article 368 . Article 368 means any addition or change in any of the provisions of the Constitution within the broad contours of the preamble, made in order to carry out the basic objectives of the Constitution.In order to appreciate how the Preamble to the Constitution would assist the court in discovering the meaning of the term „amendment‟ used in Article 368 ,the Court traced the history of the drafing and ultimate adoption of the preamble. Therefore it was held that the Constitution should be read and interpreted in the light of the grand and noble vision expressed in the preamble.Thus after this observation of the Supreme Court there remains no doubt that the Preamble to the Indian Constitution is an integral part of the Constitution.

8 9

Re Berubari Union v. Exchange of Enclaves , AIR 1960 SC 845 Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala , AIR 1973 SC 1461

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University Institute of Legal Studies,P.U CONTENTS OF THE PREAMBLE : ‘We the People of India’- Signifies that the power is ultimately vested in the hands of people of India.Jawaharlal Nehru explained the meaning of the word „People‟ it basically meant 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. The Supreme Court in the Union of India v. Madangopal Case10 observed that „our Constitution as it appears from the Preamble derives its authority from the people of India‟. ‘having solemnly resolved’: It merely explains that the founding fathers had given a serious thought to the provisions of the Constitution .They had performed a sacred duty and exercised full wisdom and political knowledge on their part.they had no axe to grind beyond „ securing a good and workable Constitution‟.11

The term Sovereign used in the Preamble means The word sovereign means supreme or independent. India is internally and externally sovereign - externally free from the control of any foreign power and internally,it has a free government which is directly elected by the people and makes laws that govern the people. Has Absolute Power to Legislate on any Subject (in Constitutional Conformity and limitations). It has Supremacy over all individuals and associations. Sovereignty of State is Absolute, Unlimited and Final. Power to make & enforce the Law. Power to punish those who abuse/ misuse Law. Political Sovereignty is vested both with Centre and States. Center assumes more power. Free to decide its own Foreign Policy. International Laws, Treaties, United Nations Obligations do not affect the Sovereignty of the State.

• • • • • • •

10 11

AIR 1954 SC 158 Dr.B.R Ambedkar’s Speech ,CAD VIII,43-44 & IX,1663

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The term Socialism was added to the Preamble by the 42nd amendment act of 1976 • • • • It implies social and economic equality. Social equality in this context means the absence of discrimination on the grounds of caste, color, creed, sex, religion, language, etc. Under social equality, everyone has equal status and opportunities. Economic equality in this context means that the government will endeavour to make the distribution of wealth more equal and provide a decent standard of living for all and especially provide security from cradle to grave in D.S Nakara v. Union of India.12 This is in effect emphasizing a commitment towards the formation of a Welfare state. India has adopted a mixed economy and the government has framed many laws to achieve the aim of social equality, such as the Abolition of Untouchability and Zamindari, the Equal Wages Act and the Child Labour Prohibition Act.

• • •

The term Secular was inserted into the Preamble by the 42nd amendment act of 1976. It implies equality of all religions and religious tolerance. • • • • • India, therefore does not have an official state religion. Every person has the right to preach, practice and propagate any religion they choose. The government must not favour or discriminate against any religion. This concept was already implicit in the provisions contained in Article 25 to 30 and part IV -A of the Constitution. Supreme Court explained the meaning of „Secularism‟ in St.Xavier’s College v. State of Gujarat13 is neither anti god nor pro god ,it treats alike the devout ,the agnostic 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.

12 13

AIR 1983 SC 13O AIR 1974 SC 1389

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University Institute of Legal Studies,P.U The term Democratic means democracy.Democracy is derived from the greek word „demos‟ which basically means „authority‟.The Supreme Court in Mohan Lal v. Dist. Magistrate Rai Bareilly14 observed:‟Democracy is a concept ,a political philosophy an ideal practiced by many many nations culturally advanced and politically mature by resorting to governance by representatives of the people elected directly or indirectly. • The people of India elect their governments at all levels (Union, State and local) by a system of Universal Adult Franchise. Every citizen of India, who is 18 years of age and above and not otherwise debarred by law, is entitled to vote. Every citizen enjoys this right without any discrimination on the basis of caste, creed, colour, sex, religion or education. Encompasses Social, Economic and Cultural Democracy. I may not accept your view point, but I respect your right to say.

• • •

The term Republic : As opposed to a monarchy, in which the head of state is appointed on hereditary basis for a lifetime or until he abdicates from the throne, • • A democratic republic is an entity in which the head of state is elected, directly or indirectly, for a fixed tenure. The President of India is elected by an electoral college for a term of five years.

The Preamble secures to all citizens of India: • • • Justice- Social,Economic ,and Political- General Welfare of Society,promotes general well-being of the community.15 Essence is to Achieve Common Good. Does not confine to Legal Justice Only.

Includes Social, Economic and Political Justice: Social Justice means the abolition of all sorts of inequities which may result from the inequalities of wealth ,opportunity,status,race,religion,caste,title, and the like.16 In Air India Statutory Corporation v. United Labour Union17,It was held 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.
AIR 1993 SC 2042 Salmond’s Jurisprudence 1948,62 16 D.D Basu
14 15

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Economic Justice. • • Aims to Reduce gap between rich & poor. Directive Principles makes provision for Human work, maternity relief, leisure, reduction of wide Economic Disparities, promoting economic interests, minimum wage, banning of forced labour, etc. Political Justice
o o

Equal opportunity for all citizens to participate in political process Adoption of Universal Adult Franchise.

LIBERTY : Used in both negative as well as positive sense. • • As a negative concept, it means the absence of all undue or arbitrary interference with individual‟s action on the part of the State. In positive sense ,it comprises of rights which are considered essential for an individual to attain his potentialities and for the perfection of the national life.

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 public places to all citizens18 by abolishing untouchability19 and titles20 by securing equality of opportunity in the matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State.21 Fraternity : Means a spirit of brotherhood .This term was added by the Constituent 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”. Dignity of the Individual : maintained for the promotion of fraternity.The dignity is assured by securing to each individual equal fundamental rights and Directive Principles ,all citizens men

AIR 1997 SC 645 Articles 14 & 15 19 Article 17 20 Article 18 21 Article 16
17 18

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University Institute of Legal Studies,P.U and women equally the right to an adequate means of livelihood 22,just and humane conditions of work23,a decent standard of life.24 Unity and Integrity25 Of the Nation: sounds the concern of the founding fathers of the Constitution for maintaining the independence of the country as well as to make the experiment of democracy successful.India is declared a „Union of States‟ so as to make it clear that its units have no right to secede from it .It is intended to put an end to separatist tendencies and make people of India feel that every part of India is their home.

The Preamble declares that the People of India adopted,enacted and gave to themselves the Constitution on 26th November 1949.But the date of commencement of the Constitution was fixed to be 26th January 1950.Article 394 provides that the Articles 5,6,7,8,9,60,324,367,379 and 394 came into force on the adoption of the Constitution on 26th November ,1949. Looking at the Preamble it seems that it has attempted to set a goal,provide a vision and direction in building a new social order which is not only democratic but equal and just.It is a vision which is humane,democratic,secular and therefore egalitarian.It envisages a positive role for the Indian State in reconstruction of a new social order.Preamble to the Constitution in this sense is important as it provides a framework of ideals and values of Indian State.Therefore inspite of not being a part of the Constitution,the preamble is given due regard by the courts while interpreting the Constitution.26 The wording of the Preamble highlights some of the fundamental values and guiding principles on which the Constitution of India is based. The Preamble serves as a guiding light for the Constitution and judges interpret the Constitution in its light. In a majority of decisions, the Supreme Court of India has held that the objectives specified in the preamble constitute the basic structure of the Indian Constitution, which cannot be amended. Though the Preamble is a part of the constitution still it nor any of its content is legally enforcible.27 The preamble is like a 'Jewel' set in the constitution. The preamble is the most precious part of the constitution. It is a key to the constitution. It normally expresses the political, moral and religious values which the constitution is intended to promote. It embodies the spirit of the constitution, the determination of the Indian people to unite themselves in a common adventure of building up a new and independent nation which Will ensure the triumph of justice, liberty, equality and fraternity. It outlined, the essentials of the
Article 39 (a) Article 42 24 Article 47 25 Inserted by the 42ND Amendment,1976 26
22 23 27
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Preamble of the Indian Constitution

University Institute of Legal Studies,P.U constitution, which was to be formed by the constituent Assembly, and thus, laid down, what K M has called, "the horoscope of our sovereign Democratic Republic."

The preamble is the unique part of the constitution sense that it represents the entire constitution in its written words and much more, that it is a vital part of the constitution not in the sense that it is unalterable or amendable on the ground that it contains the basic features of the constitution, but sense that it enables one to understand the constitution.28



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Books referred: 1.) Kumar,Narendra („Constitutional Law of India‟)Allahabad Law Agency ,New Delhi 8th Edition p 27-32; 2.) Bakshi,P.M („The Constitution of India‟) Universal law Publishing Co.,New Delhi 10th Edition Websites referred: 1) 2) 3) D.D Basu („Commentary on the Constitution of India‟) 1982 p 138 4) dian+Constitution&hl=en&ei=ugOSToqqF43SrQelzOGVAQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct =result&resnum=1&sqi=2&ved=0CDEQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Preamble%20of%20i ndian%20Constitution&f=false 5) 6)


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