The preamble of the constitution
“We, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to 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;
IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this twenty-sixth day of November, 1949, do HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION”.
42nd Amendment Act, 1976 (18 Dec 1976): As a part of the Constitution, preamble can be amended under Article 368 of the Constitution, but the basic structure of the preamble cannot be amended.
Because the structure of the Constitution is based on the basic elements of the Preamble. As of now, the preamble is only amended once through the 42nd Amendment Act, 1976.
The term ‘Socialist’, ‘Secular’, and ‘Integrity’ were added to the preamble through 42nd Amendment Act, 1976.
‘Socialist’ and ‘Secular’ were added between ‘Sovereign’ and ‘Democratic’.
‘Unity of the Nation’ was changed to ‘Unity and Integrity of the Nation’.
The concept of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity in our Preamble was adopted from the French Motto of the French Revolution.
Debate on additions of “GOD” and “Gandhi”.
- God would amount to ‘compulsion of faith’ and violate the fundamental right to freedom of faith.
- Indian constitution was based on the American Supreme Court cases and the Government of India Act. He opposed any association of Gandhi with the ‘rotten Constitution’.
The word ‘sovereign’ implies that India is neither a dependency nor a dominion of any other nation, but an independent state. There is no authority above it, and it is free to conduct its own affairs (both internal and external).
The term socialist used here refers to democratic socialism, i.e. achievement of socialist goals through democratic, evolutionary, and non-violent means.
Wealth should be shared equally by society through distributive justice, not concentrated in the hands of a few, and the government should regulate the ownership of land and industry to reduce socio-economic inequalities. It aims to end poverty, ignorance, and inequality.
Secular means that the relationship between the government and religious groups is determined according to the constitution and law.
There is no difference in religion i.e. Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Christianity, and Islam are equally respected and moreover, there is no state religion.
All the citizens of India are allowed to profess, practice, and propagate. “Secularism is the basic structure of the Indian Constitution and it means equal freedom and respect for all religions.”
The people of India elect their governments by a system of universal adult franchise, popularly known as “one person one vote”. Every citizen of India 18 years of age or older and not otherwise debarred by law is entitled to vote. The word democratic refers not only to political democracy but also to social and economic democracy.
In a republican form of government, the head of state is elected and not a hereditary monarch.
A democratic republic is an entity in which the head of state is elected, directly or indirectly, for a fixed tenure.
Thus, India has a president who is indirectly elected and has a fixed term of office. There’s an absence of a privileged class and all public offices are open to every citizen without discrimination.
Justice stands for rule of law, absence of arbitrariness, and a system of equal rights, freedom, and opportunities for all in society.
India seeks social, economic, and political justice to ensure equality for its citizens.
(i) Social Justice:
Social Justice means the absence of socially privileged classes in the society and no discrimination against any citizen on grounds of caste, creed, color, religion, gender, or place of birth. India stands for eliminating all forms of exploitation from society.
(ii) Economic Justice:
Economic Justice means no discrimination between men and women on the basis of income, wealth, and economic status. It stands for equitable distribution of wealth, economic equalities, the end of monopolistic control over means of production and distribution, decentralization of economic resources, and the securing of adequate opportunities for all for earning their living.
(iii) Political Justice:
Political justice means equal, free and fair opportunities for the people to participate in the political process. It stands for the grant of equal political rights to all people without discrimination. The Constitution of India provides for a liberal democracy in which all the people have the right and freedom to participate.
The idea of Liberty refers to the freedom on the activities of Indian nationals. This establishes that there are no unreasonable restrictions on Indian citizens in term of what they think, their manner of expressions and the way they wish to follow up their thoughts in action. However, liberty does not mean freedom to do anything, and it must be exercised within the constitutional limits.
The term ‘equality’ means the absence of special privilege to any section of society, and the provision of adequate opportunity of all the individuals without any discrimination.
This refers to a feeling of brotherhood and a sense of belonging with the country among its people. It leaves no room for regionalism, communalism, casteism, etc., which hinders the unity of the State.
The dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the nation.