Knowledge Polity & Governance

A simple explanation – Preamble of the Constitution of India

The basis of any country is its Constitution.  The administrative, policy making and judicial bodies of a country functions based on the Constitution.  India had its own world’s lengthiest ever written Constitution, which was based on many other constitutions and certain Acts of pre-independent India.  There are many critics on the Indian Constitution and one among them is about its legal jargons used by the makers.  The preamble to the Constitution is like an ID card to the Constitution, which implies the basic structure.  Let’s understand the Indian Constitution’s preamble, in simple terms, without much jargons.

Features of Preamble

It states that constitution derives its authority from the people of India.
Declares India as SOVEREIGN, SOCIALIST, SECULAR, DEMOCRATIC and REPUBLIC Nation.
JUSTICE, LIBERTY, EQUALITY and FRATERNITY are the objectives of the Constitution.
26 November 1949 is the date of adoption i.e., on this day, the Constitution has come into force.

A simple explanation of the key words of the Preamble:

It is undeniable fact that it is quite typical for a fellow Indian to understand the key words of the Constitution as they were mostly used only in the legal terminology.

SOVEREIGN – It means India has the full right and power to govern itself without any interference from outside sources or bodies.
SOCIALIST (Added by 42nd Amendment) –  It implies to social and economic equality.  Placing means of production & distribution in the hands of public control.
SECULAR (Added by 42nd Amendment) – The Union of India has no religion and it will give equal benefits and respect to all religions.
DEMOCRATIC – possession of supreme power by the people.
REPUBLIC – it can be classified into two categories.  i.e., i) Monarchy (king/emperor) – Britain ; ii)Republic – India – i.e., Indian people will elect their Head of State and it is not a hereditary post like Britain.

JUSTICE embraces three distinct forms—social, economic and political, secured through various provisions of Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles.

LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith, and worship, through their Fundamental Rights, enforceable in the court of law, in the case of violation.

The ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity in our Preamble have been taken from the French Revolution (1789–1799).

EQUALITY:

Fundamental Rights ensures civic equality.
Article 325 and Article 326 provides political equality.
Directive Principles ensure economic equality – Article 39.

FRATERNITY (sense of brotherhood):

Indian constitution makers preserves the spirit of fraternity through single citizenship. Which is also described in Article 51-A (Fundamental Duties)

Fraternity must ensure two things –
Dignity of individual and unity and integrity of nation
“Integrity” added in preamble through 42nd Amendment.

Note:

  1. Preamble is non-justifiable in the Court of Law.
  2. Preamble is neither a source of power to legislature nor a prohibition upon the powers of legislature.

If you want to read the complete Indian Constitution, click here.

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