The preamble refers to the introduction or preface of the Constitution. It contains the summary of Constitution.
According to N.A. Palkhiwala “Preamble is an identity card of Constitution and it is an introduction to the statue.
The preamble has been called the soul of Constitution by Thakurdas Bhargav.”
According to K.M. Munshi the Preamble has been called the political horoscope of Indian Constitution.
Landmark Cases on PREAMBLE
In Kehar Singh v. Union of India AIR 1989 SC 653 case the court held that the constitution reflects the wishes of the people and it is not imposed on the people. Thus, Indian constitution is self-imposed by people of India wishfully.
In The Union Of India vs Madan Gopal Kabra, AIR 1954 SC 158 case, the Supreme Court referred to these words in the preamble while recognizing the power of the Indian legislatures, to enact laws with retrospective operation beyond the commencement of the constitution itself. The court observed that “our constitution as appears from the preamble derives its authority from the people of India”
Nature of the State:
The nature of State is SOVEREIGN, SOCIALIST, SECULAR, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC. There are no punctuation marks and the set of words is in capital letters. Thus emphasis is given to words.
Sovereign means an independent country completely free from foreign control. India is not subject to any outside authority and not influenced or interfered by any outer power during the formulation of its foreign policies and internal affairs.
In Synthetic & Chemicals Ltd. v. the State of Uttar Pradesh, AIR 1990 SC 1927 case, the Supreme Court decided that the word ‘sovereign’ means that the state has the authority everything within the restrictions given by the Constitution.
The term sovereign was also discussed in Kesavanada Bharati v. State of Kerala, AIR 1973 SC 1461 case.
In D.S.Nakara v. Union of India 1983 AIR CS 130 case,
socialism has been taken to mean raising the living standard of the weaker section and labourers and to guarantee for them lifelong social security. In Excel Wear v. Union of India 1979 AIR SC 25 case,
it was held that the effect of adding the word Socialist is that the court should give more effect to nationalization and state ownership. In brief, our socialism is a unique combination of Marxism.
In Air India Statutory Corporation v. United Labour Union,
Supreme Court elaborated the concept of “socialism” and stated that the word socialism was expressly brought in the constitution to establish an egalitarian social order through rule of law as its basic structure.
In Samatha v. State of Andhra Pradesh, Appeal (civil)4601-02 of 1997 case, Supreme Court observed that the word Socialist used in the Preamble must be read from the goals, Article 14, 15, 16, 17, 21, 23, 38, 39, 46 and all other cognate Articles sought to establish, i.e., to reduce inequalities in income and status and to provide equality of opportunities and facilities.
This term was not present in the original preamble of the constitution. It was introduced by 42 nd Amendment of the constitution in 1976. In S. R. Bomai v. Union of India, AIR 1994 SC 1918 case, court held that the secularism is a part of the basic structure of the constitution. Hon’ble K. Ramaswamy J. has observed – “The Preamble of the Constitution is an integral part of the Constitution, democratic form of Government, federal structure, integrity and unity of the nation, secularism, socialism, social justice, and judicial review are basic features of Constitution of India.”
A similar view was given by the court in a case M. Ismail Faruqui v. Union of India (1994) 6 SCC 360.
In Aruna Roy v. Union of India (WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 98 OF 2002) case, court opined that the secularism has been held to be knowledge of and respect for all religions and fostering the feeling of respect for them.
In Bal Patil v. Union of India, Appeal (civil) 4730 of 1999 case, Court held that all religions and religious groups must be treated equally and with equal respect. India is a secular state where people have the right to choose their religion. But the state will have no specific religion.
In M.P. Gopalkrishnan Nair v. the State of Kerala, Appeal (civil) 6675 of 1999 case, the Court stated that the secular state is different than an atheist society, which means the state allows every religion and disrespect none.
In St. Xavier’s College v. State of Gujarat, AIR 1974 SC 1889 case,
Supreme Court explained “secularism is neither anti-God nor pro-God, it treats alike the devout, the agnostic and the atheist.
It eliminates God from the matters of the state and ensures that no one shall be discriminated against on the grounds of religion.
In I. R Coelho v. State of Tamil Nadu, AIR 2007 SC 861 case, Supreme Court held that secularism is a matter of conclusion to be drawn from various Articles conferring Fundamental Rights. “If the secular character is not to be found in Part III”, the Court ruled, “it cannot be found anywhere else in the Constitution, because every fundamental right in Part III stands either for a principle or a matter of detail”.
In Valsamma Paul v. Cochin University, AIR 1996 SC 1011 case, the apex court emphasized that inter-caste marriages and adoption were two important social institutions through which “secularism” would find its fruitful and solid base for an egalitarian social order under the Constitution of India.
“Secularism,” the court said, was a bridge between religions in a multireligious society to cross over the barriers of their diversity.
In R. C. Poudyal v. Union of India, AIR 1993 SC 1804 case the court held that democracy denotes people’s power and equal participation of all citizens in the polity.
In Mohan Lal v. District Magistrate of Rai Bareilly, AIR 1993 SC 2042 case the Court observed that Democracy is a philosophical topic related to politics where the people elect their representatives to form a government, where the basic principle is to treat the minority the same way people treat the majority. Every citizen is equal before the law in the democratic form of government.
In Union of India v. Association of Democratic Reforms, 2002 (3) SCR 294 case the Court states that the basic requirement of a successful democracy is awareness of the people. A democratic form of Government cannot survive without fair elections as fair elections are the soul of democracy. Democracy also improves the way of life by protecting human dignity, equality, and the rule of law.
India, the President is the head of the state. The president has a fixed term of 5 years. As discussed in Class notes. kindly refer IAS Next Class notes Objectives of the Constitution:
Preamble specifies justice of three kinds, which is inspired by the peculiar socio-political history of pre-independent India.
In Research Centre v. Union of India, AIR 1995 SC 922 case, by invoking the provisions of Art.21 & 38 of Constitution of India, which envisages Social Justice to be a device to ensure life to be meaningful and livable with human dignity, the Hon’ble Court held that the State was obliged to provide facilities to workmen to reach minimum standard of health, economic, security and civilized living. Social Justice is a means to ensure life to be meaningful and livable.
Every citizen has the right to think and express oneself. It is again not liberty in a general and abstract sense, but it is the liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith, and worship. This spell out the path towards the
In Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390 (1923), case, “Liberty denotes not merely freedom from bodily restraint but also the right of the individual to contract, engage in any of the common occupations of life, to acquire useful knowledge, to marry, establish a home and bring up children, to worship God according to dictates of his own conscience, and generally to enjoy those privileges long recognized at common law as essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.”
All citizens are equal before the law and will be protected equally by the laws of the land. The state should not discriminate between the people on the basis of place, race, caste, birth, religion, creed, gender, wealth and status.
Fraternity: As discussed in Class notes. kindly refer IAS Next Class notes
Fraternity means the inculcation of a strong feeling of spiritual and psychological unity among the people. It is designed to secure the dignity of the individual and unity and integrity of the nation.
In Indra Sawhney v. Union of India, AIR 1993 SC 477 case, the Court observed that the word Fraternity is not mere word, but is an instrument for assuring
- the dignity of the individual and
- unity and integrity of the nation.
This concept of Fraternity obviously enjoins “all this could be possible only if the people of India as a whole were bound together by spirit of brotherhood”.
In S. S. Bola v. B. D. Sardana, (1997) 8 SCC 522 the Supreme Court observed: The Liberty, equality, and fraternity have to be secured and protected with social justice, economic empowerment and political equality under the rule of law.
In P.A. Inamdar v. State of Maharashtra, (2005) 6 SCC 537 case, the Court observed that if Indian polity has to be educated and educated with excellence, it is a well-settled principle of the golden goals set out in the Preamble of the Constitution, i.e., JUSTICE, LIBERTY, EQUALITY, and FRATERNITY.
Dignity: As discussed in Class notes. kindly refer IAS Next Class notes
For promotion of fraternity, dignity of the individuals is to be maintained.
The Legality of Preamble:
Re: Berubari Union Case (AIR1960 SC 845; decided on 14th March 1960)
It was decided by a bench of seven judges. In this case, the Supreme Court said that the Preamble is not a part of the Constitution and because of this, Preamble has no substantive power.
It is key to open the mind of the maker of the constitution.
Golaknath v State of Punjab ( AIR 1967; decided on 27th Feb 1967)
It was decided by bench of eleven judges. In this case, the Golaknath family owned 500 acres of Land. But the Land Tenure Act allowed them to keep only a little portion of those 500 acres of land, rest shall be taken by the government.
In this case, the land tenure act was challenged. It was argued that Citizens have a fundamental right to property under Article 19 of the Constitution.
Justice K. Subba Rao,CJI -it Contains in a nutshell ,its ideals & its aspirations. The Preamble is not a platitude but the mode of its realisation is worked out in detail in the constitution.
Kesavananda Bharti v State of Kerala ( AIR 1973 SC 1461)
It was decided by Bench of thirteen judges (the largest Constitution bench).
S.M Sikari , CJI
- Preamble is the part of constitution
- Any part of preamble may be amended subject to basic structure of constitution.
Minerva Mills v Union of India (AIR 1980 SC 1789; decided on 31st July 1980) With the help of Preamble, a relationship was established between Fundamental rights and Directive Principles of State Policy.
SC said that there is no case of superiority between part 3 or part 4. Both are complimentary to each other.
Preamble: The Spirit of the Constitution
The Preamble of the Constitution of India Act, 1949, encapsulates the essence and spirit of the Constitution. It declares India as a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic, and republic nation committed to justice, liberty, equality, and fraternity. The Preamble lays the foundation for the interpretation and application of constitutional provisions, serving as a guiding light for constitutional governance.
Case Laws and the Preamble: Interpreting Constitutional Principles
Landmark case laws have played a pivotal role in interpreting the Preamble and elucidating the intent and scope of its provisions. Here are a few notable cases that have contributed to the understanding of the Preamble and its relevance in constitutional interpretation:
- Keshavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala (1973): This landmark case established the “Basic Structure Doctrine,” which held that certain core features of the Constitution, including those enshrined in the Preamble, are immutable and cannot be amended.
- Indira Nehru Gandhi v. Raj Narain (1975): In this case, the Supreme Court affirmed the supremacy of the Preamble and held that it is an integral part of the Constitution that guides and informs the interpretation of its provisions.
- S.R. Bommai v. Union of India (1994): The Supreme Court, in this case, emphasized that the principles of secularism and federalism, enshrined in the Preamble, are basic features of the Constitution and must be protected.
Judicial Interpretation: Expanding the Scope of the Preamble
Judicial interpretation has expanded the scope and significance of the Preamble, highlighting its dynamic nature and its role in evolving constitutional principles. Here are a few key aspects of the Preamble that have been elucidated through case laws:
- Social Justice: The Supreme Court has emphasized the importance of social justice as a guiding principle of the Preamble, directing the government to ensure equality, inclusivity, and the upliftment of marginalized sections of society.
- Secularism: Case laws have emphasized the secular character of the Indian state, protecting religious freedom, and preventing the state from favoring any particular religion.
- Democratic Governance: The courts have reiterated the commitment to democratic governance, emphasizing the principles of free and fair elections, separation of powers, and protection of individual liberties.
Read more: Preamble of The Constitution of India