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Preamble The backbone of the Constitution

Everything comes in a manual, which defines its purpose, functions and objectives. Likewise act and the Legislation has their own Preamble. The word Preamble is arrived from Latin word´┐Ż Praembulus meaning to go before.

Preamble is like an introductory statement of any act and legislation which defines its purpose, philosophy, principle, ideas, uses, objectives. Its like manual. if we go through Preamble we will notice it is like blue print or map. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru gave a draft about Preamble which defined rights, liberty and was known as Objective Resolution. The draft was presented on December 13, 1946 and adopted as Preamble on January 11,1947.

Preamble has only been amended one time since its final draft. Preamble was amended in 42nd amendment and 3 words were added Secular, Socialist And Integrity.[1]

Constitution all over the world generally have a Preamble. The form, content and length of the Preamble differ from Constitution to Constitution. Preamble generally sets the ideals and the goals which the makers of the Constitution intend to achieve through that Constitution. In Golak Nath v. State of Punjab it was observed, that The Preamble contains in a nutshell its ideals and its aspirations. Preamble is spirit and backbone of the Constitution.[2]


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 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.

Important words WE THE PEOPLE OF INDIA it identifies the source of the Constitution.

Nature of the Preamble

Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic defines India is a republic the head of the state is elected and is not a hereditary monarch. Citizen have liberty to elect their own representatives.

Object of the Preamble

Justice, Liberty, Equality & Fraternity
In 42nd amendment three words were added SECULAR, SOCIALIST AND INTEGRITY. The word SOCIALIST was inspired by philosophy of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi. The main objective is for welfare of the state. SECULAR because state has no religion. India has positive Secularism we are free to worship any religion. unlike, other countries where you are only allowed to worship the religion which the state is worshipping.


The word Demo means people and cracy means Rule. The term means Rule of the People. Government is formed by people's rule not by the heredity.

Can Preamble Be Amended? And Is Preamble Part Of The Constitution?

Article 368- Power Of Parliament To Amend The Constitution And Procedure

To understand this we first need to know Article 368 gives power to the Parliament to amend the Constitution.

In Re Beurabri union case Hon'ble Supreme Court gave a judgment stating Preamble is not part of the Constitution. Though Article 368 gives Parliament power to amend the Constitution , the Preamble cannot be amended as it is not part of the Constitution.

But, The Preamble of our Constitution was was, however, enacted and adopted by the same procedure as the rest of the Constitution. It was introduced and discussed in the Constituent Assembly and passed by it like rest of the provisions of the Constitution. This difference was not brought into notice by the Supreme Court in Berubari Union and Exchange of Enclaves, where it observed that Preamble is not part of the Constitution of India. [3]

The point which was missed in that case was later observed in Keshvananda Bharti v. State of Kerala[4] it held that the Preamble is part of the Constitution. Hon'ble Court observed that the like other provisions of the Constitution Preamble was adopted meaning Preamble is a part of the Constitution therefore, it can be amended. By vesting the power of Article 368 parliament can amend Preamble but cannot interfere with the basic structure.

By 42nd amendment 3 words SECULAR, SOCIALIST AND INTEGRITY were amended as they were not interfering the basic structure , but were adding strength to the Preamble.

Written By: Shivani Vora

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