The Preamble highlights few fundamental values and guiding principles on which the Constitution of India is based. It serves as the guiding light for both, the Constitution as well as the judges who interpret the Constitution in its light. The opening few words of the Preamble - "We, the people" - signifies that the power is vested in the hands of the people of India. The Preamble is as follows:
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.
Initially the preamble was not the part of the Constitution of India but the Supreme Court, in the case of 'Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala' found it to be part of the Constitution and can be used in interpret ambiguous areas of the Constitution. The words "SOCIALIST" and "SECULAR" were introduced in 42nd amendment.
Terms of Preamble, Explained
It means supreme or independent. The country is both, internally as well as externally sovereign. Externally it is free from any foreign power and internally it exercises a free government directly elected by the people and makes laws that govern the people.
The word was added by the 42nd amendment act of 1976. It implies to social and economic equality. Social equality means there is no discrimination on the grounds of caste, color, creed, sex, religion, language, etc. Each one enjoys equal status and opportunities. By economic equality it means that the government will endeavour for equal distribution of wealth and to provide a decent standard of living for all, hence a committment in forming a welfare state. Abolition of Untouchability and Zamindari, the Equal Wages Act and the Child Labour Prohibition Act were few steps taken by the government in this context.
The word was inserted by the 42nd amendment act of 1976. Secular implies equality of all religions and religious tolerance. No state in India have an official state religion. Anybody can preach, practice and propagate any religion of his or her choice. In the eyes of law all citizens are equal irrespective of their religious beliefs. No religious instruction is imparted in government schools or government-aided schools.
This mean that the government of all levels are elected by the people through a system of universal adult franchise. Every citizen irrespective of caste, creed, color, sex, religion or education who is 18 years of age and above is entitled to vote, if not debarred by law.
The term means that the head of the state is elected, directly or indirectly, for a fixed tenure. The President of India is elected by electoral college for a fixed period of five years.