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Preamble: The Shepherd of the Constitution

The Preamble of the Constitution, which was primarily focused on the Objective Resolution by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, was accepted by the Constituent Assembly on January 22nd 1947. The Preamble was constituted to examine the basic principles, rules and parameters of the Constitution of India. It acts as a guide to the Constitution. It basically sets the flow map on which the further provision to be made accordingly.
  • KM Munshi called Preamble as Horoscope of Constitution
  • Thakur Das Bhargava called Preamble as Soul of the Constitution
  • NA Palkivala called Preamble Identity card of the Constitution

The Preamble of the Constitution focuses upon five principle terms that signify Indian heritage and values are Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic and Republic. The main objective of the preamble is to uphold these five Principle terms at a prior level.

The Preamble further empowers the citizens and makes the system of Justice more equitable or justified towards the people of India. The objective terms of the Preamble, which includes Justice, Equality, Liberty and Fraternity, is emphasized at a more significant level.

The provisional or legal language of the Preamble of the Constitution of India:

"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;

Buildup and emergence of the Preamble of the Constitution:

The initial phase of the Preamble of the Indian Constitution had been adopted by US Constitution. In contrast, the ideals of Liberty, Fraternity and Equality have been adopted by the French Fraternity. The only amendment made in the Preamble was materialized during the 42nd amendment, introduced on December 18th, 1976. The concerned amendment added three words (Secular, Sovereign and Integrity) to constitute fresh provision and strengthen the directing nature of the Constitution.

After around 12-13 years since the inception of Preamble, it was appealed to make Preamble a part of the Constitution in the 1960's Berubari Union case. Still, it was denied by the Apex Court to adopt Preamble as a part of the Constitution. After a long span, in the Kesavananda Bharti case, SC changed its previous verdict and adopted the Preamble as an essential part of the Constitution in its Preface. In the LIC of India case, Apex Court recalls its decision made in the Kesavnanda Bharti case.

Principle terms of the Preamble:


The word sovereign means Independent or Supreme, which reflects the independent authority of the State. The State is Supreme and has control over every subject while working within the Constitutional or legal limits. The State cannot be restrained by any authority or external power but needs to work within Constitutional limits.

In Synthetic & Chemicals Ltd. V the State of Uttar Pradesh, it was held by the Apex Court that the State could possess its control or power over each aspect but needs to be within limits prescribed by the Constitution. The Court even discussed the differentiation of External and Internal Sovereignty.

Socialist: During the emergency period, the word socialist was added to the Preamble of the Indian Constitution. It simply means awarding equal opportunities to the people and believing in cooperation by the public and hence, serving the people.

In Excel Wear v Union of India, it was held that with the inception of this word into the Preamble, it aimed to pull out judgments in favour of Nationalization and State ownership of the Industries. For the fulfilment of the Principle of Socialism and social justice, no one can ignore the rights and liberties of different sections of Society mainly private owners.

The Concept of Secularism is pinned in the Preamble of India with the advent of the 42nd amendment. Secularism recognizes equal rights and liberties of all religions and promotes religious tolerance without any discrimination over worship, faith and religious practice. The concerned provision also said that India has no official religion.

Components or provisions contributing to promoting Secularism:

Article 14: Equality before the law
Article 15: Abolishing discrimination based on caste, gender, race, religion and place of birth.
Article 24 to 28: Contributing Freedom in a religious manner

It eventually failed to promote the true sense of Secularism, which can only be possible by implementing Article 44: Uniform Civil Code in DPSP (Directive Principles of State Policy) mentioned in part IV.


The term democratic is made by two words Demos, which mean people, and Kratos, which means authority; that's why also called People's Authority. The concept talks about people as the country's population has and the largest share in the ruling Government. The people of the country participate in the election process with their valuable votes to preserve the idea and make the choice of Countrymen before all.

In Mohan Lal V District Magistrate of Rai Bareilly, in this case, it was very well held that it depends upon the population of the country to vote and elect the representative for the country. The Minority must also be given rights accordingly by following the principles embedded in Article 14 of the Constitution of India, which further emphasize the concept of Democracy.


The term Republic is originated from res publica, which means public property or authority. Indian Constitution represents India as a Republic form of Government. The republic government is not an advocator of the hereditary or nepotistic rule of enthroning like king or queen onto the Prime Ministerial post or any other highest authority that directly deals with the public.

The above mentioned five strengthening principles of the Preamble enable India as the largest Democracy in the world, which is nourished with the vital principles of the rule by considering people of the country at a prior level. The Preamble of the Constitution respects the principles of Justice, Equality, Liberty and Fraternity by setting aside the criteria of disharmony and fanaticism.

Ideals of the Preamble:

  • Justice:

    The term Justice in the Preamble is attached with its elements of Social, Economical and Political and is further being affirmed by several provisions of the Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP). Justice is one of the most significant essentials of maintaining peace within the Society and among citizens.
  • Social Justice:

    Social justice is an essential component of Justice as it is only there to satisfy people's interests in the course of availing the Justice against the harsh measures of Society. Discrimination, whether based on caste, religion, culture, creed, can also be categorized under Social injustice. The eradication of all types of deformities within the Society is also a crucial part of touching or availing the soul of equity or impartiality
  • Economic Justice:

    This type of Justice is categorizing people based on the parameters of parity among the distribution of income, wealth and economic status. The promotion of a feeling of equality is fulfilled through the zero discrimination policy towards the man and women of the Nation.
  • Political Justice:

    Political Justice means giving all people free, fair and equal rights to participate in political opportunities. Every person has an equal right of access or approach over political offices and assumes equal participation in the government process.
  • Equality:

    The term equality means that no section of Society has any special provision or privilege, and each section of Society must be treated indistinguishably whether they are based on class, caste, culture, religion or racially identity.

Our Constitution guarantees us equality through:

  • Article 14: Equality before the law
  • Article 15: Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex and place of birth
  • Article 16: Equality of opportunity in the matter of public employment

But, still many sects of society are alienated from the principle of availing equality. Some strict rules and laws are needed to be made to stop this cruel injustice with the Equality principle. Many people had discriminatory behaviour with backward classes, women and sometimes practised in availing job opportunities.

The reservation policy in some cases didn't meet with the principle of equality. In the State of Madras VS Champakam Dorairajan case, the government order provided caste-based reservations to college seats and jobs. The court held that providing these types of reservations depicts the violation of Article 29 (2) and Article 15 of the Constitution.


The concerned term points out that every person belonging to this Nation should carry the absolute right and liberty to have their personal view or practice over faith, worship, religion, politics and several other practices not contrary to the law. This ideal also promotes no unreasonable restriction policy over citizens in terms of thoughts, feelings and views.

To demonstrate, suppose a person who is arguing with a traffic police officer over not wearing a helmet and saying it's his life who are they to restrict him and our constitution grants us the right to liberty. Another instance is that if a person commits rape and says that it's his life whatever he wants to do he can do as the constitution grants him the right to practice liberty.

In both cases, the scope of Public interest overlaps the person's liberty as the move is defined to save a person himself or become a threat to society too. Personal liberty needs to be sacrificed in some cases where Public good and Utilitarian theory applies. Thus, liberty doesn't mean to do whatever a person wants to do; a person can do anything permitted or lies within limits prescribed by the law.

In R. Muthukrishnan VS R. Mallika case, it has been held by the court that no one is deprived of their Fundamental right guaranteed in Article 19 and 21 but, for a movement in a vehicle no person can claim the violation of the fundamental right and drive as so desires, there should be certain reasonable restrictions. There are certain restrictions and guidelines enlisted in MV act for driving a vehicle.


The term fraternity promotes the feeling of oneness, brotherhood and generates emotional attachment towards the country and its people. The concept of Fraternity promotes the feeling that everyone is the sons/daughters of the same soil so, they have to remain connected with each other without any discrimination based on caste, religion, creed and gender.

Consequently, the Preamble of the Constitution of India is being adopted as a guiding principle that directs the people and law not to go contrary to the principle terms and ideals of the Preamble. The Preamble safeguards the norms of Justice, Equality, Liberty and Fraternity among people through its guiding nature.

Although the existence of many disparities among the Citizens of the country, the provisions of the Preamble still gave us hope of betterment and endeavor to restrict anti-social elements. The legal fraternity collectively has to conquer over all the drawbacks existing in the system, must attempt to diminish the harsh effect of bigotry and wickedness over innocents.


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