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Key words in the Preamble
- We, the people of India: It indicates the ultimate sovereignty of the people of India who are also the supreme source of this preamble. Sovereignty means the independent authority of the State, not being subject to the control of any other State or external power.
- Sovereign: The term means that India has its own independent authority and it is not a dominion of any other external power. In the country, the legislature has the power to make laws which are subject to certain limitations.
- Socialist: The term means the achievement of socialist ends through democratic means. It holds faith in a mixed economy where both private and public sectors co-exist side by side. (was added in the Preamble by 42nd Amendment, 1976)
- Secular: The term means that all the religions in India get equal respect, protection and support from the state. (was incorporated in the Preamble by 42nd Constitutional Amendment, 1976)
- Democratic: The term implies that the Constitution of India has an established form of Constitution which gets its authority from the will of the people expressed in an election.
- Republic: The term indicates that the head of the state is elected by the people. In India, the President of India is the elected head of the state.
- Justice: Citizens cannot be discriminated on the grounds of caste, religion and gender. Social inequalities have to be reduced.
- Liberty: There are no unreasonable restrictions on the citizens in what they think, how they wish to express their thoughts and the way they wish to follow up their thoughts in action.
- Equality: All are equal before the law. The government should ensure equal opportunity to all.
- Fraternity: All of us should behave as if we are members of the same family. No one should treat a fellow citizen as inferior.
A little insight into the Debate Summary regarding Preamble
The Constituent Assembly debated the Preamble on 17th October 1949. The debates around the Preamble revolved around the name of India and inclusion of ‘God’ and ‘Gandhi’.
One member urged the Assembly to rename India as the ‘Union of Indian Socialistic Republics’, similar to the USSR. Members were not convinced with this suggestion as they felt that it would go against the already adopted constitutional scheme.
Another member sought to include ‘In the name of God’. Many were opposed to this suggestion – it was noted that it was unfortunate to put ‘God’ on vote. One member believed that inclusion of ‘God’ would amount to ‘compulsion of faith’ and violate the fundamental right to freedom of faith.
Another proposal was made to include Gandhi’s name in the Preamble. A member was discontent with the already adopted draft articles as he felt that the Indian constitution was based on the American Supreme Court cases and Government of India Act. He opposed any association of Gandhi with the ‘rotten Constitution’.
The amendments moved by the members were negatived. However, this was one of the rare instances of the Assembly proceedings wherein the members voted on the proposal to include ‘God’ by a show of hands. The Assembly was divided with 41 voting in favour and 68 voting against it.
The Assembly adopted the Preamble as presented by the Drafting Committee.
Role of Hon’ble Supreme Court in deciding the significance of the Preamble
The preamble being part of the Constitution is discussed several times in the Supreme Court. It can be understood by reading the following cases.
In Re Berubari case, the Supreme Court held that the Preamble was not a part of the constitution and therefore it could not be regarded as a source of any substantive power.
In Kesavananda Bharati’s case, the Supreme Court rejected the above view and held the preamble to be a part of the constitution. The constitution must be read in light of the preamble. The preamble could be used for the amendment power of the parliament under Article 368 but basic elements cannot be amended. The 42nd Amendment has inserted the words “Secularism, Socialism, and Integrity” in the preamble.
In Union Government Vs LIC of India 1995 also, the Supreme Court once again held that Preamble is the integral part of the Constitution but is not directly enforceable in a court of justice in India.
To conclude, it will not be wrong to say that the spirit or the ideology behind the Constitution is sufficiently crystallized in the preamble. It is also right to state that preamble is the basic part of any document and it is but obvious to our constitution because it is the supreme law of our country. The Preamble highlights some of the fundamental values and guiding principles on which the constitution is based. It is a guiding light having interpretational value. It plays a pivotal role in case of ambiguity. The Preamble of the Constitution of India is one of the best of its kind ever drafted. Both in ideas and expression, it is a unique one. It embodies the spirit of the constitution to build up an independent nation which will ensure the triumph of justice, liberty, equality, and fraternity.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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