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 Opportunity; And To Promote Among Them All;
Fraternity Assuring The Dignity Of The Individual
And The Unity And Integrity Of The Nation;
In Our Constituent Assembly, This Twenty-Sixth Day Of November 1949, Do Hereby
Adopt, Enact, And Give To Ourselves This Constitution.
n simple words, the Preamble is an introductory statement. It outlines the
fundamental values, principles, the objectives upon which the Constitution (the
law of the land) is built. It serves as a symbolic expression of the ideals and
aspirations that the Constitution of a country aims to achieve.
In the words of Pandit Thakur Das Bhargava, "Preamble is the most precious part
of the Constitution, it is the soul of the Constitution, it is the key to the
Constitution, it is the key to open the mind of the makers of the Constitution.
It is a jewel set in the Constitution. It is a superb prose poem, nay, it is
perfection in itself. It is a proper yardstick with which one can measure the
worth of the Constitution."
K.M. Munshi said the Preamble is the 'Horoscope of the Constitution.�
N.A. Palkivala said the Preamble is the 'Identity of the Constitution.�
Thus, the Preamble is the key to, and soul of, the Constitution.
Significance Of Preamble In Indian Constitution
The Constitution of India is the supreme law of the land. The Constitution
begins with the preamble. The Preamble is part of the basic structure of the
It holds significant importance for several reasons which are as
- Guiding principles.
The preamble of the Indian Constitution provides for the guiding principles by which the provisions of the Constitution are interpreted. It acts as a moral compass for the judiciary and other organs of the government. To ensure that the objectives of the Constitution are upheld.
- Unity in diversity
The Indian Constitution is designed in such a way as to accommodate the diverse cultural, linguistic, religious, and social backgrounds of the country. Mentioning words such as 'fraternity� in the preamble emphasizes the need for unity and harmony among the people of India.
- Constitutional identity
The preamble defines the essential identity of the Indian Constitution. It sets the tone for the entire legal framework and for the subsequent articles and provisions in the Constitution.
- International influence
The use of the words such as 'Justice�, 'Liberty�, and 'Equality� in the preamble, reflects the influence of international ideals and principles. It highlights India�s commitment to global values of human rights, social justice, and equality.
- Reflection of historical struggles
The preamble reflects the sacrifices made and the struggles faced by the Indian people in their fight for an independent India and Justice. It pays homage to the freedom fighters and the principles for which they fought.
In summary, the preamble of the Indian Constitution encapsulates the
foundational values, principles, and objectives that guide the nation�s
governance. It plays a very significant role in shaping the interpretation and
application of the provisions of the Constitution and serves as a reminder of
the vision and the goals of the framers of the Constitution.
The preamble of the Indian Constitution lays down the nature of the Indian state
and the objectives which are to be achieved for all of the citizens of India. It
also upholds the sovereignty of the people of India and records the date on
which the Constitution was finally adopted by the constituent assembly. Each
word of the preamble conveys a set of ideas. The interpretation of the
Constitution is done keeping in mind the preamble.
The following are the salient features of the preamble:
The source of all authority.
- The source of all authority is popular sovereignty
- Nature of the Indian states
- Four cardinal objectives
- Date of adoption and enactment of the Constitution
- Self-made constitution
The preamble of the Indian Constitution accepts the principle of popular
sovereignty. It begins with the words, "We the people of India". This clearly
testifies to the fact that the people of India are the ultimate source of all
the authority. The government only derives its power from the people. The roots
of the Constitution are from the people and the Constitution derives its
sovereignty also from the people. In this respect, the preamble of the Indian
Constitution is similar to the preamble of the United States Constitution.
In the constituent assembly, two members objected to the use of the phrase "We
the people of India". H.V. Kamath wanted the preamble should begin with the
words 'In the name of God� however, this amendment got defeated as not everyone
prays to God for courage, support, and strength. There are some people who do
not believe in God and one should not impose their own beliefs on others.
Another member, Maulana Hasrat Mohani objected to the use of these words. He
asserted that the constituent assembly was elected by a small electorate which
does not represent all the people of India, hence making it not fully
representative. However, this view was also rejected.
Nature of Indian State.
The preamble states the five cardinal features or five cardinal features of the
Indian state. It declares India to be a Sovereign, Socialist, Secular,
- India as a Sovereign State:
declaring India as a sovereign state in the preamble was the sine qua non to
denote that the British rule over India had ended. The proclamation of the term
'sovereign� testifies to the fact that India is no longer a dependency, colony,
or possession of the British crown. India emerged as a fully sovereign
independent state with the adoption of the Constitution by the constituent
It is both internally and externally free to make her own decisions
and implement them for her people and territories. However, there are some
critics who point out that the membership of 'The Commonwealth of Nations�
limits the sovereign status of India, as under the Commonwealth, there is
acceptance of the British King or Queen as the head of the Commonwealth. But
this view is not correct.
The Commonwealth is no longer the British Commonwealth
after 1949. It has now become an association of sovereign equal nations who are
friends with each other and who are connected because of the historical links
and have preferred to join hands for the promotion of the national interest
through cooperative efforts.
- India as a Socialist State:
In the year 1979, the preamble of the Indian Constitution was amended (42nd
Constitutional Amendment) to include the term 'socialism�. Socialism is not
regarded as a prime feature of the Indian state. It lays down the fact that
India is committed to securing justice, social, economic, and political to all
of its people by ending all forms of exploitation and by securing equitable
distribution of income, resources, and wealth. All this has to be secured by
peaceful, constitutional, and democratic means.
'Socialism� in India does not have the same meaning as it has been assigned to
in Russia. The Indian judiciary has explained the meaning of the term socialism
in several landmark cases. In Excel Wear V. U.O.I., the Hon�ble apex court
found that with the addition of the word socialist a portal is opened to lean
the judges in favor of the nationalization and state ownership of the industry.
But the principle of socialism and social justice cannot ignore the interests
and rights of the different sections of the society, that is, the private
In Minerva Mills Ltd. V. U.O.I., the constitutional bench considered
the meaning of the word 'socialism� to crystallize the socialist state, securing
to all its people, Socio-economic justice by interplay of the fundamental rights
and directive principles. In D.S. Nakara V. U.O.I., the Hon'ble Supreme Court
said that socialism aims at providing the working people a decent standard of
- India as a Secular State:
By the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act in the year 1976, the term secular was
incorporated in the preamble. Its enculturation simply made the secular nature
of the Indian constitution more crystal clear. As a secular state, India gives
special status to no religion. There is no such thing as a state religion of
India. India is different from theocratic polities like the Islamic Republic of
Pakistan and other Islamic countries. India is neither irreligious nor
In S.R. Bommai v. U.O.I., the Hon'ble apex court held that secularism is part
of the basic structure of the Constitution and that there is religious tolerance
in India. In St. Xaviers College V. State of Gujarat & Anr., the Hon'ble
court said that secularism is neither Anti-God nor Pro-God, secularism means the
elimination of God from the matters of the state and the state has nothing to do
with the religion of the people.
- India as a Democratic State:
The preamble of the Indian Constitution declares that India is a democracy. The
people of India elect their own government through free, fair, and periodic
elections at all levels, that is Union, State, and Local by a system of
universal adult franchises popularly known as ' one man one vote�. Every citizen
of India who is 18 years and above has the right to vote without any
discrimination on the basis of caste, color, creed, sex, religion, or race.
- India as a Republic:
The preamble declares India to be a republic. Negatively, this means that India
is not ruled by a monarch or a nominated head of state. Positively it means that
India has an elected head of state who wears the power for a fixed term.
Madison, while defining the Republic, has observed, "It is a government which
derives its powers, directly or indirectly from the great body of the people,
and is administered by the persons holding their office during the pleasure of
the people, for a limited period or during good behavior." India met this
standard perfectly and hence is a republic.
Four Cardinal Objectives
The preamble of the Indian constitution refers to the four cardinal objectives
of the Indian state, namely Justice, liberty, equality, and fraternity.
Justice, social, economic, and political
Liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith, and worship
- Social justice refers to the abolition of inequalities in the society
- Economic justice refers to the principle of equal wages for equal work
- Political justice means the elimination of unreasonable distinctions in the
political matters of the state.
Equality of status and opportunity
- Liberty is a state where there is an absence of restrictions.
- Equality of status refers to the natural equality of all persons as equal and
free citizens of India, enjoying equality before the law
- Equality of opportunity, that is, adequate opportunities for all to develop.
It is a feeling of spiritual and psychological unity. It means a spirit of
oneness and brotherhood for ensuring the dignity of the individual and the unity
and integrity of the nation.
Date of adoption and enactment of Constitution
In the final paragraph, the preamble specifies the important historical fact
that the Constitution was adopted on 26 November 1949. It was on this date that
the Constitution received the signature of the President of the constituent
assembly and was declared passed. Every year on November 26, we celebrate the
Constitution of India. It was adopted and enacted by the constituent assembly
acting as the representative of the sovereign people of India.
The Indian constitution, however, came into force on January 26, 1950. This is
because, on this date in the year 1930, India declared the demand for Poorna
Swaraj as its ultimate goal for independence. Thus, in order to celebrate this
declaration, the Constitution came into force on January 26, 1950.
The Constitution of India is adopted and enacted as a self-made Constitution. It
was adopted on in acted by the constituent assembly as the elective
representative body acting on behalf of the people of India.
Is Preamble The Part Of The Constitution?
Can It Be Amended?
In Re Berubari Case,
 a seven-judge constitutional bench held that the
preamble is the key to opening the minds of the framers. It is not a part of the
constitution therefore, it cannot be amended by and under Article 368 of the
However, in Keshavananda Bharti V. State of Kerela
, 13 judge
constitutional bench held that the preamble is not the source of power or the
source of limitations of the Constitution. It is very much a part of the
constitution and thus, it can be amended by and under Article 368 of the Indian
Written By: Kanishka Rajeev Singh
- Excel Wear v. Union of India, 1979 AIR 25, 1979 SCR  1009.
- Minerva Mills Ltd. v. Union of India, AIR 1980 SC 1789.
- D.S. Nakara v. Union of India, 1983 AIR 130, 1983 SCR (2) 165.
- S.R. Bommai v. Union of India, (1994) 3 SCC 1.
- St. Xaviers College v. State of Gujarat and Anr., (1997) 1 SCR 173.
- In Re Berubari Enclave Case, AIR 1960 SC 845.
- Keshavananda Bharti v. State of Kerala, AIR 1973 SC 1461.
, student V semester, BA.LLB. Babu
Banarsi Das University, Lucknow.