The preamble of the Constitution

 What is Preamble?

•              An Introduction/Preface to the constitution.

•              Holds the essence of the Constitution.

  Our Preamble

•              Based on the objectives Resolution

•              Reveals that the constitution derives its authority from the People of India ( It starts from we the people of  India)

•              Outlines the objectives of the constitution (justice, liberty, equality and fraternity)

•              Also tells on the day which it is adopted i.e. 26 Nov, 1949.

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 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 –sixty day of November, 1949, do hereby adopt, Enact And Give to ourselves This Constitution.

•              42nd C.A 1976. Added the term Socialist Secular and integrity in the Preamble.


             Part of the Constitution•              But Non-justiciable (not enforceable by law)

•              Not a source of power.

•              Not a Limitation of powers.

•              Kesavananda Bharati (1973) SC, Preamble is a part.

•              LIC of India case (1995)

•              (Berubari Union Case, 1960: SC Said Preamble not a part)

•              Outlines the basic philosophy and fundamental values of the constitution.

•              M Hidayatullah (former CJI):”the soul of the constitution”.


•              Amended once 42nd C.A, 1976


•              Three new words added: Socialist, secular & Integrity.

•              Kesavananda Bharati case: SC used Preamble can be amended under Article 368, subject to basic features document. (Means Article 368 cannot be used to destroy or delete/damage the basic elements or the fundamental features of the Constitution, which are enshrined in the Preamble.)

  Terms used  under    Preamble

1.        Sovereign:-

•              India is an independent state.

•              Not a dominion, nor dependent on any other state/nation etc.

•              No authority above it.

•              Conducts its own affairs.

•              India’s membership of the Commonwealth or the UNO does not limit her sovereignty.

•              Can acquire foreign territory or cede a part of its territory

2.     Socialist:-

•              Earlier an implicit principle expressed through DPSPs.

•              Made explicit by the 42nd C.A 1976.

•              INC Avadi Session (1955): Resolution to create a socialist pattern of society.

•              Democratic Socialism, not communist Socialism.

•              Communist socialism: state socialism

•              Nationalisation of means of production

•              Abolition of private property.

•              Democratic Socialism: mixed economy

•              SC: aims to end poverty, ignorance, disease and inequality of opportunity.

•              Mixed form of Gandhian Socialism with influences of Marxism socialism.

•              NEP 1991 diluted socialism principles

3.    Secular:- (Refer ch-3)

•              Added with the 42nd CA 1976.

•              But implicit through articles 25-28.

•              Indian Constitution embodies the positive concept of Secularism i.e. all religions in our country (irrespective of their strength) have the same status and support from state.

4.    Democratic:-

•              Power with the people.

•              Popular sovereignty (Based on the doctrine of popular sovereignty)

•              India has a representative parliamentary democracy with UAF

•              Regular elections

•              Independent Judiciary

•              Rule of Law

•              Preamble indicates the existence of political and social and economic democracy.

•              Democracy is of two types: direct & indirect

•              Switzerland has a direct democracy in which people exercise their supreme power directly.

·           It has devices:

   Referendum: proposed legislation is referred to the electoral for settlement by direct vote.

o    Initiative: People can propose a bill

o    Recall: Voters can remove a representative

   Plebiscite: mid of obtaining opinion of the people on any public issue. Usually used for territorial disputes.

·           The Indian constitution provides for representative parliamentary democracy under the executive is responsible to the Legislative for all its policies and actions.

·           This dimension was stressed by Dr. Ambedkar in his concluding speech in the constituent Assembly on November 25, 1949, in the following way:

“Political democracy cannot last unless there lies at the base of its social democracy. What does social democracy mean? It means a way of life that recognizes liberty, equality, and fraternity. The principles of liberty, equality, and fraternity are not to be treated as separate items in a trinity. They form a union of trinity in the sense that to divorce one from the other is to defeat the very purpose of democracy. Liberty cannot be divorced from equality, equality cannot be divorced from liberty. Nor can liberty and equality be divorced from fraternity. Without equality, liberty would produce the supremacy of the few over the many. Equality without liberty would kill individual initiative”.

5.    Republic:-

·           Elected head of state and elected indirectly for a fixed period of 5 years i.e, President

·           Popular Sovereignty with the people, not in an individual like a queen.

·           Absence of a privileged class

·           Public office opens to all citizens without any discrimination.

6.    Justice:-

Three aspects of justice in the preamble.

1.         Social: equal treatment without any social distinctions (e.g. on basis of caste, sex, religion etc)

·           Absence of privileges for any section of the society.

·           Improvement of conditions of disadvantaged sections.

2.         Economic: Non- discrimination on basis of class.

Removing wealth, income, property inequalities.

3.         Political: equal political rights, access to political offices and institutions etc.

Distributive justice: Combination of economic and social justice,

·           Idea of Justice: From Russian Revolution

·           Secured through FR and DPSP.

7.   Liberty:-

·           Absence of privileges to any section of society.

·           Opportunities without discrimination.

·           Preamble: equality of status and opportunity.

·           Civic, political and economic equality.

·           Civic equality assured through

o    Article 14: equality before Law

o    Article 15: Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.

o    Article 16: equality of opportunity in public employment.

o    Article 17: Abortion of untouchability

o    Article 18: Abolition of titles.

·           Political equality through:

o    Article 325: no discrimination on inclusion in electoral rolls.

o    Article 326: right to vote; UAF.

·           Economic equality through:

o    Article 39 (DPSP): equal pay for equal work for men, women, right to an adequate livelihood.

9.    Fraternity:-

·           Sense of brotherhood (sorority: sisterhood)

·           Expressed through system of single citizenship.

·           FD: Article 51- A

o    To promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities and to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women.

·           Fraternity has to secure dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the nation.

·           Individual dignity: Material betterment, democratic set up, personal development.

·           Unity and integrity of the nation: Psychological and territorial dimensions.

o    Overcoming issues like communalism, casteism, regionalism that hinder national integration

o    Article 1: India is a union of states.

·           The Preamble declares that fraternity has to assure two things. The dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the nation.

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