We, The People Of India
, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a
SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizen:
justice, social, economic and political, Liberty of thoughts, 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
It is an integral part of its basic structure. It is loadstar and guides those
dealing with its provisions. It can be regarded as a key to the objects and
intention. The term 'Preamble' refers to the introduction or preface of our
constitution because it contains the summary of the whole constitution. It is
the Bible of our constitution.
The preamble has been called the "identification card of our constitution
" by N.A. Palkhivala, a distinguished jurist and constitutional expert.
Interpretation By The Supreme CourtsThe constitution's power was derived from the people of India, as stated in the
Interpretation By The Supreme Courts
We the people of India. The constitution was enacted on November 26,
1949, and went into effect on January 26, 1950, according to the preamble.
We, the people of India emphasise the republican and democratic
character of the polity and that all power ultimately stems from the people. It
is by the people, of the people and for the people. The framers of the
constitution attached importance to the people. It has sovereignty meaning the
independent authority. We are not under any other state or Government. Full
sovereignty implies independence from foreign control. The constitution is to
secure certain objects set forth in the Preamble.
- Social Justice:
Social Justice is the recognition of greater good to a larger number without
deprivation or accrual of legal rights of any body. If such a thing can be
done, then social justice must prevail over any technical rule. As between
two parties, if a deal is made with one party without serious detriment to
the other, then the Court would lean in favour of the weaker section of the
The constitutional concern of social justice as an elastic, continuous
process is to accord justice to all sections of the society by providing
facilities and opportunities to remove handicaps and disabilities with which the
poor etc. are languishing and secure dignity of their person. Social justice is
the comprehensive form to remove social imbalance by law harmonizing the rival
claims or the interests of different groups and/or sections in the social
structure or individuals by means of which alone it would be possible to build
up a Welfare State. Social justice is the order and economic justice is the rule
of the day.
- Distributive Justice:
The concept 'distributive justice' connotes the removal
of economic inequalities and rectifying the injustice resulting from dealings or
transactions between unequals in society. It comprehends more than lessening of
inequalities by differential taxation, giving debt relief or regulation of
contractual relations; it also means the restoration of properties to those who
have been deprived of them by unconscionable bargains; it may also take the form
of forced redistribution of wealth as a means of achieving a fair division of
material resources among the members of society. The ideal of economic justice
is to make equality of status meaningful and life worth living at its best,
removing inequality of opportunity and of status-social, economic and political.
Social justice and equality are complementary. Rule of law is a potent
instrument of social justice.
The Constitution abolished all distinctions on the ground of
religion, by the Equality of classes. The Constitution, however, safeguards the
individual as well as collective rights of minorities in a host of provisions
which are justiciable, and if any of them are violated they can obtain effective
remedy through the courts of law.
The secularism is basic feature of our
constitution. All persons shall be equally entitled to the freedom of conscience
and the right freely to profess, practice and propagate religion. Secularism
does not mean to be non-religious or not having faith in God. Concept of
secularism is one facet of the right to equality woven as the central golden
thread. Provides security to followers of all religions.
The word secularism used in the preamble of the Constitution is reflected in
provisions contained in Articles 25 to 30 and Part IVA added to the Constitution
containing Article 51A prescribing fundamental duties of the citizens. It has to
be understood on the basis of more than 68 years experience of the working of
The complete neutrality towards religion and apathy for all
kinds of religious teachings in institutions of the State have helped in
removing mutual misunderstanding and intolerance inter se between sections of
people of different religions, faiths and beliefs. Secularism, therefore, is
susceptible to a positive meaning that is developing understanding and respect
towards different religions.
The essence of secularism is non-discrimination of
people by the State on the basis of religious differences. Secularism can be practised by adopting a complete neutral approach towards religions or by
positive approach by making one section of religious people to understand and
respect religion and faith of another section of society. It teaches
Co-existence and each one is right and free.
- Liberty, Equality & Fraternity:
The state in a democratic society derives its
strength from the cooperative and dispassionate will of all its free and equal
citizens. Social and economic democracy is the foundation on which political
democracy would be a way of life in the Indian polity. Liberty should be coupled
with social restraint and subordinated to the liberty of the greatest number for
Fraternity is an instrument for assuring:
- the dignity of the individual and
- the unity and integrity of the Nation.
It has a twofold
application, with reference to (a) the 'backward classes! and (b) the religious
minorities. Liberty, equality and fraternity have to be secured and protected
with social justice and economic empowerment and political justice to all the
citizens under the rule of law. It is to provide liberty, freedom, equality and
fraternity between persons belonging to different religions. Fraternity,
comprehends with all human relationship and human kinds necessary for
constituting human society in general and every individual unit, big or small,
of the human society in particular.
Interpretation By The Supreme Courts
Kesavananda Bharti v State of Kerala
( AIR 1973 SC 1461)[i]
It was decided by a thirteen-judge panel (the largest Constitution bench).
In this instance, the government's interference with citizens' right to property
was also discussed. Some constitutional amendments were made in 1971-72, as a
result of which two Kerala Acts on Land Reform were added to the 9th Schedule.
In this case, the amendments were challenged.
Court said three important things in this case:
Indira Nehru Gandhi V Raj Narain
- SC said that Parliament can amend the whole Constitution including
- But the basic structure of Constitution cannot be amended.
- Basic structure was defined & specified in this case. E.g. Judicial
Prior to this case, the Allahabad High Court had declared Indira Gandhi's
election illegitimate due to fraud. The Supreme Court overturned the Allahabad
High Court's decision. While this case was being tried, the 39th Amendment Act
was passed, which included Article 329A.
Judicial Review is prohibited in situations relating to elections, according to
Article 329A was challenged in this case. By calculating all these things, SC
said that the basic structure of Indian Constitution is Democracy which means
free and fair election. To continue this basic structure, Rule of law and
Judicial Review are essential.
So, while striking down Article 329A, SC said that Rule of law, Democracy and
Judicial Review are part of the basic structure and no amendment can be done to
Golaknath v State of Punjab
(AIR 1967; decided on 27th Feb 1967)
It was decided by an eleven-judge panel. The Golaknath family held 500 acres of
land in this instance. However, the Land Tenure Act only enabled them to keep a
small fraction of the 500 acres, with the remainder being confiscated by the
government. The land tenure act was challenged in this case. According to
Article 19 of the Constitution, citizens have a basic right to property.
- P.M. BAKSHI, The Constitution of India, 14th Edition, Universal law
- M.P. JAIN, Indian Constitutional law, 8th Edition, LexisNexis.
- V.N.SHUKLA's, Constitution of India, 13th Edition, EBC.