Preamble to the Indian Constitution

[vc_section][vc_row][vc_column width=\”1/2\”][vc_column_text]What is a Preamble?

A preamble is an introductory statement in a document that explains the document’s philosophy and objectives.

In a Constitution, it presents the intention of its framers, the history behind its creation, and the core values and principles of the nation.

The preamble basically gives idea of the following things/objects:

  • Source of the Constitution
  • Nature of Indian State
  • Statement of its objectives
  • Date of its adoption


History of the Preamble to Indian Constitution

The ideals behind the Preamble to India’s Constitution were laid down by Jawaharlal Nehru’s Objectives Resolution, adopted by the Constituent Assembly on January 22, 1947.

Although not enforceable in court, the Preamble states the objectives of the Constitution and acts as an aid during the interpretation of the Articles when language is found ambiguous.

Significance of Preamble to the Constitution

Sovereign – The Preamble proclaims that India is a Sovereign State. ‘Sovereign’ means that India has its own independent authority and it is not a dominion or dependent state of any other external power. The Legislature of India has the powers to enact laws in the country subject to certain limitations imposed by the Constitution.

Socialist –The term “Socialist” was added to the Preamble by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment in 1976. India has adopted ‘Democratic Socialism’ which means the achievement of socialist ends through democratic means. It holds faith in a mixed economy where both private and public sectors co-exist side by side.

Secular – The term secular in the Constitution of India means that all the religions in India get equal respect, protection, and support from the state. The Indian concept of Secularism is positive secularism as compared to negative secularism in the West (State is strictly divorced from religion). The word ‘Secular’ was incorporated in the Preamble by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment in 1976.

Democratic – The term Democratic indicates that the Constitution has established a form of government that gets its authority from the will of the people expressed in an election. That means the supreme power lies with the people. It calls into activity the intelligence and character of ordinary men and women.

Republic – In a republic, the Head of the state is elected by people directly or indirectly. Political sovereignty is vested in the people rather than a monarch as in the case of Britain (Britain is a democracy but not a republic, it is a constitutional monarchy).In India, the president is elected indirectly by the people.

Is the Preamble a part of the Indian Constitution

Interpretation by the Supreme Court:

1. Berubari Union case, 1960 – The Supreme Court said that the Preamble shows the general purposes behind the several provisions in the Constitution, and is thus a key to the minds of the makers of the Constitution. Despite this recognition of the significance of the Preamble, the Supreme Court held that the Preamble is not a part of the Constitution.

2. Kesavananda Bharati case, 1973 – Supreme Court rejected the earlier opinion (in the Berubari Case) and held that the 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. But it has no legal effect independent of other parts.

3. LIC vs. Union of India Case, 1995 – The Supreme Court again held that the Preamble is an integral part of the Constitution but it is not directly enforceable in a court of justice.

Amendment to the Preamble

The 42nd Amendment to the Constitution – amended the Preamble and changed the following:

1. Description of India from a “sovereign democratic republic” to a “sovereign, socialist secular democratic republic”

2. Changed the words “unity of the nation” to “unity and integrity of the nation”

What are the beginning words in the Preamble to the Constitution of India?

The preamble begins with the words “We the people of India…” thus clearly indicating the source of all authority of the constitution. It emphasizes the sovereignty of the people and the fact that all powers of government flow from the people. It is the people of India on whose authority the Constitution rests. The preamble surmises that it is the people of India who are the authors of the constitution. Thus the words “We, the people of India” declares in unambiguous terms that the Constitution has been adopted, enacted and given to themselves by the people of India.

Preamble of India – Objective Resolution

In 1946, Objective Resolution was moved by Jawaharlal Nehru, describing the constitutional structure. In 1947 (22nd January) it was adopted. It shaped the Constitution of India and its modified version is reflected in the Preamble of the Indian Constitution. The basic tenets that the objective resolution highlighted were:

  • Constituent Assembly’s resolve to see India as independent, sovereign and republic
  • To draw a Constitution for India
  • To make all territories of the pre-independent India into united states of post-independent India
  • To realize residual powers, autonomy on such states as the Constitution of India reflects
  • To realize union with the power which will be different than those given to such states
  • The people of India to play the source of power and authority of the sovereignty, and the independence
  • To provide justice, social, economic and political equality of status of opportunity and, freedom of thought,
  • expression, belief, faith, worship, vocation, association and action, subject to law and public
  • morality before the law
  • To provide adequate safeguards to the minorities, tribal and backward areas and other depressed and backward classes
  • To maintain the integrity of the Indian republic’s territory and its territorial rights on land, sea, air according to the justice and law of the civilized nation
  • To promote peace and welfare among the worldly nations.

Who was the Calligrapher of the Indian Constitution

Prem Behari Narain Raizada (1901–1966) was the calligrapher who hand-wrote the Constitution of India.

Who was the chief artist behind the illustration of the original Indian Constitution

Nandalal Bose took up the historic task of beautifying/decorating the original manuscript of the Constitution of India. He was assisted by his disciple Beohar Rammanohar Sinha.

Who designed and decorated the Preamble page of the Indian Constitution

The preamble page, along with other pages of the original Constitution of India, was designed and decorated solely by renowned painter Beohar Rammanohar Sinha of Jabalpur.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=\”1/2\” is_sticky=\”yes\” sticky_min_width=\”767\” sticky_top=\”130\” sticky_bottom=\”0\”][vc_custom_heading text=\”PREAMBLE TO THE INDIAN CONSTITUTION | TIMETEA | SHIELD IAS\” font_container=\”tag:h2|font_size:24PX|text_align:center|color:%23ffffff|line_height:34PX\” use_theme_fonts=\”yes\” css=\”.vc_custom_1667909970738{margin-top: 0px !important;margin-bottom: 0px !important;padding-top: 10px !important;padding-right: 10px !important;padding-bottom: 10px !important;padding-left: 10px !important;background-color: #434a9b !important;}\”][vc_video link=\”\” css=\”.vc_custom_1667909965363{margin-top: 0px !important;padding-top: 0px !important;}\”][/vc_column][/vc_row][/vc_section]

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