Preamble related questions and answers

Preamble related questions and answers

Text of the Preamble

“We, the people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic, Republic, and to secure 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;

What is the need of a Preamble of our Indian Constitution?

The Indian Constitution has the distinct identity of being the longest Constitution among all the written Constitutions in the world. At around 450 Articles and 12 Schedules, it contains the best parts of all the Constitutions of the world along with having many uniquely Indian features.

At such time, it becomes absolutely essential that the soul of the Constitution be defined so as to have a fundamental view with which to interpret everything written in the Constitution. A Preamble thus acts like the soul of the Constitution, by encapsulating its most essential ideals and principles in the fewest words possible. In the words of N.A. Palkhivala, who is a constitutional expert, the Preamble acts as an 'identity card' of the Constitution.

What are the main components of the Preamble?

1) Preamble declares at the start that the people of India are the source of authority of the Constitution

2) The Preamble declares the essential features of the Indian state: Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic, and Republican

3) Preamble outlines the 4 basic objectives of the Constitution: Justice, Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity

4) The Preamble states the date of adoption of the Indian Constitution (26th November, 1949)

Is Preamble considered part of the Indian Constitution?

The Preamble is considered to be a part of the Indian Constitution.

Let us look at some brief history. In the Berubari Union (1960) case the Supreme Court had declared that the Constitution is NOT a part of the Indian Constitution, and should be seen as providing guidelines through which the Indian Constitution is to be read.

However, in the landmark Kesavananda Bharati (1973) case the Supreme Court rejected its earlier opinion and declared that the Preamble is a part of the Indian Constitution and that it occupies a place of utmost significance.

Can the Preamble be amended?

The Preamble can be amended and it has already been amended by the 42nd Amendment in 1976 when three new words- Secular, Socialist, and Integrity- were added to the Preamble. Article 368 provides rules for amendment of the Constitution, and since it was judged that the Preamble is a part of the Constitution as well, it is subject to amendment too. Although it is important to remember that the Supreme Court has also declared that no amendment shall tamper with the 'basic features' of the Preamble.
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