The Preamble of the Indian Constitution declares: “We, the People of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a Sovereign, Socialist and Secular Democratic Republic and to secure to all its citizens. The Maharashtra government has made it compulsory to recite the preamble of the Constitution in all schools starting January 26. A government resolution states that the objective is to instill values such as justice, freedom and equality enshrined in the Constitution. A similar resolution had been issued in 2013 by the then Congress-NCP government. The preamble is a brief introductory statement that sets out guidelines that guides the people of the nation and presents the principles of the Constitution and indicates the source from which the document derives its authority and meaning. The hopes and aspirations of the people are described in it. The preamble can be referred to as the preface that highlights the entire Constitution. It was adopted on 26 November 1949 by the Constituent Assembly and came into effect on 26 January 1950 celebrated as the Republic day in India. It is customary for a Constitution to have a preamble, but is not compulsory. The Govt. of India Act, 1935 did not have a preamble. It is a summary and essence of the whole Constitution. It is the prelude of the Constitution.
In a nut-shell, it tells what the Constitution is all about. In the era where most of the people are clueless about the Constitution and there are many misuses of the same reciting preamble keeps them updated of their rights as citizens, it reminds them of their duties. To understand the scope of their constitutional values and their all-inclusiveness and instill values such as justice, freedom, equality and fraternity on the society, it is important that students have a comprehensive introduction to the Constitution…The young minds of this age will thus become responsible, cultured citizens. It is expected that this starts from the school-going age and that is why every day, during the morning routine, there should be collective reading of the preamble and a government resolution is already in place for it from 2013. It has now been noticed that the decision is not being implemented. Therefore, under an initiative titled “Sarvabhaumatva Samvidhanache, Janhit Sarvanche” (Sovereignty of the Constitution, Welfare of All), all primary and secondary schools must undertake collective reciting of the preamble every day. The Maharashtra government will also be making Marathi language compulsory in all Maharashtra schools. A law to this effect will be brought in the next session of Assembly.
The Constitution is nothing but an elaboration of the preamble. The preamble is itself a most important part of the Constitution. Effectively, ideology can be found under one-page preamble which describes the actual motive of the set of rules in the document. To ascertain the supreme authority of our Constitution, the words we the people, sovereign it means India has no other external power to rule, and the people of India are the sole power. Almost all of it barring the injunctions are indeed important. The preamble of the Indian Constitution serves as its identity card. It lays out what our Constitution is trying to achieve. It is largely based on the Nehru’s objective resolution passed on the first meeting to draft the Indian Constitution. It reflects the philosophy and the ideology of the Indian Constitution. It tells the people of India what the framers had in their minds while making the biggest Constitution of the world.
The amendments to the Constitution have been debated and adored; added and subtracted. So, let us take a moment to appreciate and learn from the 52 uplifting and permanent words of the preamble. The Constitution being no ordinary document but the ultimate law of the land, it required an introduction so that every person before reading the other provisions may keep in mind what are the objectives and aims of the Constitution and what it is expecting from the people. It also reflects the vision of the Constitution makers. Well, if it was not included in the Constitution probably we would have been still searching for the true meaning of the Constitution. Although the preamble is used as an interpretation tool sparingly as the articles of the Constitution have more authority than the Constitution, nonetheless it is a valuable part of the Constitution. The preamble secures to every citizen, justice, liberty, equality and fraternity. It provides social, economic and political justice. It secures liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship. It provides equality of status and opportunity. It assures the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation. The preamble of the Constitution is quite relevant for the interpretation of the Constitution. This question was raised for the first time before the Supreme Court in the historic case of Keshavanand Bharti vs. State of Kerala. In this case, the Attorney General of India argued that by virtue of its amending power in Article 368, even the preamble of the Constitution could be amended. The petitioners however contended that the amending power under Article 368 is limited. The preamble creates an implied limitation on the power of amendment. The preamble contains the basic elements or the fundamental features of our Constitution. Consequently, amending power cannot be used so as to destroy or damage these basic features mentioned in the preamble.
It was argued that the preamble cannot be amended as it was not a part of the Constitution. The Supreme Court held that the preamble is part of the Constitution. The majority view of the Supreme Court was that although the preamble is part of the Constitution, it could be amended but subject to the condition that “the basic features” in the preamble could not be amended. The Court held, “The edifice of our Constitution is based upon the basic elements mentioned in the Preamble. If any of these elements are removed, the structure will not survive and it will not maintain its identity. The preamble declares that the people of India have resolved to constitute their country into a Sovereign Democratic Republic. No one can suggest that these words and expressions are ambiguous in any manner. The amending power would be interpreted so as to confer power on the Parliament to take away any of these fundamental and basic characteristics of our Constitution. The amending power cannot change the Constitution in such a way that it ceases to be a Sovereign Democratic Republic.
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