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Preamble to the Constitution of India |

Preamble to the Constitution of India

Context 

∙ The Supreme Court recently asked if the Preamble of the Constitution could have been amended without changing the date of its adoption on November 26, 1949. 

Background

∙ The Preamble was amended only once in December 1976 through the 42nd Constitutional Amendment to make two changes:

∙ The phrase “unity of the nation” was replaced with “unity and integrity of the nation”.

∙ The words ‘socialist’ and ‘secular’ were inserted between ‘sovereign’ and ‘democratic’. Originally, the text of the Preamble declared India as a ‘sovereign, democratic republic’. 

∙ The Supreme Court in the Kesavananda Bharati case had held that the Preamble was an integral part of the Constitution and was subject to the amending power of the Parliament, provided the basic structure was not tinkered with.

Preamble to the Constitution of India

∙ The Preamble of the Indian Constitution is primarily based on the ‘Objective Resolution’ written by Jawaharlal Nehru in 1946.

∙ The Preamble to the Constitution of India is a brief introductory statement outlining the guiding principles and aspirations of the nation. 

Components of the Preamble

∙ Source of authority for the Constitution – The Preamble states that the Constitution derives its authority from the people of India.

∙ Nature of Indian State – It declares India to be a Sovereign, Socialist, Secular Democratic, and Republican Polity.

∙ Objectives of the Constitution – It specifies Justice, Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity as the objectives.

∙ Date of adoption of the Constitution – It stipulates November 26, 1949, as the date of its adoption.

Significance

∙ The Preamble serves as a guiding light for interpreting the Constitution and enacting laws.

∙ It defines the national goals and aspirations of India.

∙ It emphasizes the importance of fundamental rights and values for all citizens.

∙ It fosters a sense of national unity and identity.

Is the Preamble a Part of the Constitution of India?

∙ In Berubari Union Case, 1960, the Supreme Court said, the Preamble is not a part of the Constitution. 

∙ But it also said, since the Preamble serves as the key to the minds of our Constitution makers, some assistance in interpreting any ambiguity in the Constitution can be taken from the Preamble.

∙ Kesavananda Bharati Case, 1973: In this judgment, the Supreme Court reversed its stand on the Preamble and made the following observations-

∙ The Preamble of the Indian Constitution will now be considered a part of the Constitution.

∙ It will play an important role in the interpretation of statutes and other various provisions of the Constitution.

∙ LIC of India Case, 1995: The Supreme Court once again ruled that the Preamble is an integral part of the Constitution, but it cannot be directly enforced in a court of justice in India.

Can the Preamble be Amended?

∙ Another important discussion,– whether the Preamble can be amended under Article 368 or not.

∙ Kesavananda Bharati Case, 1973: In this case, the Supreme Court held that the Preamble is a part of the Constitution and hence can be amended, subject to the condition that no amendment is done to the ‘Basic Structure’ of the Constitution.

Conclusion

∙ The preamble of the Constitution of India is one of the best preambles ever drafted, not only in ideas but expressions as well. 

∙ It contains the purpose of the constitution, to build an independent nation that protects justice, liberty, equality, and fraternity which are the objectives of the Constitution.

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