Preamble of India - Meaning, Facts, Significance, Notes

By Shubhra Anand Jain|Updated : August 18th, 2022

Preamble is an important document that defines the philosophy and objectives of the Indian constitution. The Preamble of the Indian Constitution displays and explains the mindset of its framers and the history behind the construction of the constitution. A preamble is the crux of the summary of the constitution. Also the constitutional expert, N.A. Palkhivala defined the preamble as the identity card for the constitution of India.

The Preamble was first introduced in the Constitution of America. After the United States of America, many countries, including India started to follow the concept of having an Indian Constitution Preamble. Here we provide a Preamble UPSC Notes in a very holistic way and also cover its related topics such as the text of the Preamble, its keywords, its significance, amendment in the Preamble, etc.

Table of Content

What is Preamble of Indian Constitution?

The Preamble of the Indian Constitution was adopted on 26th November 1949. The United States of America was the first constitution in the world to have a Preamble and the Preamble of the Indian Constitution was inspired by the constitution of the USA and the 'Objective Resolution' drafted and moved by Pandit Nehru.

  • An eminent jurist and constitutional expert N. A. Palkhivala called the Indian Constitution Preamble the 'identity card of the Constitution wherein it briefly carries the message and philosophy of the constitution.
  • To add the three new words Socialist, Secular, and Integrity it has been amended by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act, 1976.

The Preamble of Constitution of India indicates that we seeks to establish an egalitarian society. Wherein social, economic, and political justice would be achieved through various provisions such as Fundamental Rights, Directive Principles of State Policy, Universal Adult Suffrage, etc.

Text of Preamble of Indian Constitution

The official Preamble of Indian Constitution is given below. It is important to read each line properly as it holds significance.

Preamble of Indian Constitution

Preamble of India Meaning

Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic, Republic, Justice, Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity are specific keywords of the Preamble of the Indian Constitution that are explained as follows-

All important keywords in the Preamble of India are stated below which describe the meaning of the Preamble.

Sovereign

  • Sovereignty denotes power or capacity. It is the capacity of the state to make decisions that are best in the interest of the country. The word sovereign implies that India is neither a dependency nor a dominion of any other nation but an independent state.
  • Today India is in a better position to safeguard its self-interest. India can either acquire a foreign territory or cede a part of its territory in favor of a foreign state as being a sovereign state.

Socialist

  • The Supreme Court in Samatha Vs State of Andhra Pradesh explains the meaning of Indian socialism. It aims at reducing inequalities in social and economic terms. We can understand Indian socialism by Articles 39(b) and 39(c) of DPSP.
  • The word Socialist was added in the Preamble of the Constitution by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act, 1976.
  • Inequality is not good for any country, as suggested by Aristotle, the father of Political Science. Inequality has been the most common cause behind every revolution. Hence, it is expected that the government working with civil society will take effective steps to remove the stigma of India as a soft state and would take steps to address the growing inequalities.

Secular

  • Secularism helps in understanding the relationship between man, state, and religion.
  • 42nd Amendment Act, 1976 made India's commitment to secularism more explicit by adding it to the Preamble.
  • The standard Hindi translation of secularism is 'Parthnirpeksha' rather than 'Dharmanirpeksha'. It means there is no complete separation between religion and state in India. Article-14,15,16,25,28,29,30,44,325. are the constitutional features.

Democratic

  • The constitution of India provides for the representative parliamentary democracy under which for all policies and actions of the legislature, the executive is responsible.
  • The manifestation of the democratic character of the Indian polity is- Universal adult franchise, rule of law, independence of the Judiciary, periodic election, absence of discrimination on grounds of race, caste, sex, gender, etc.
  • In the Preamble, the word Democratic has the wider sense of embracing not only political democracy but also social and economic democracy.
  • On November 25, 1949, Dr. Ambedkar concluded his speech in the constituent assembly by emphasizing that political democracy cannot last unless there lies at the base of its social democracy, which means a way of life that recognizes Liberty, Equality, and fraternity.

Republic

  • The term Republic used in the Preamble implies that India has an elected head known as the President, who is elected indirectly for a fixed time period. There is also two more meaning of the term 'Republic' I.e.
    • Vesting of political sovereignty in the people.
    • Absence of any privileged class.

Justice

  • The ideal of social, economic, and political justice has been taken from the USSR.
  • There are three distinct forms of term justice used in the Preamble that is social, economic, and political which are secured through the various provisions of Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of State Policy.

Liberty

  • The concept of Liberty, equality and fraternity are inspired by the French revolution.
  • Liberty means the absence of restraint from the activities of the individuals and providing an opportunity for the development of individual personalities through their fundamental rights which, in the case of violation, can also be enforceable in a court of law.

Equality

  • The absence of special privilege for any section of society is the actual meaning of equality.
  • The Preamble secured the equality of status and of the opportunity to promote among them all the citizens of India.

Fraternity

  • The term Fraternity is used in the Preamble to promote the sense of brotherhood through the system of single citizenship. And, Article 51 A is a fundamental duty also says that it shall be the duty of every citizen of India to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India.

Significance of the Preamble

The Preamble consists of the basic philosophy and fundamental values on which the constitution is based.

The Preamble reflects the dream and aspiration of the founding father of the Constitution as Sir Alladi Krishnaswami Iyer said 'The Preamble to our constitution expresses what we had thought or dreamt for so long.m The preamble is a proper yardstick with which one can measure the worth of the constitution.

Preamble as a Part of Constitution

The Constitution's adoption date is November 26, 1949. But most of the constitutional articles entered into force on January 26, 1950. There have been several cases to discuss the significance and status of the preamble of India in the constitution.

Berubari Union Case (1960)

  • The supreme court in the Berubari Union case provided its opinion that the Preamble is key to understanding the mind of the Constitution makers.
  • The Preamble is separate from the constitution and it isn't a part of it.

Kesavananda Bharati case (1973)

  • The Preamble is part of the Constitution. It can be amended and it is subject to Judicial review.
  • The objective resolution of 13 December 1946 carried many provisions that we can find in the Preamble.

Union Government v. LIC of India case (1995) : In the Union Government Vs LIC of India case, the Supreme Court ruled that the Preamble is an inalienable part of the Constitution.

Facts about Indian Constitution Preamble

Few things should be noted here regarding the Preamble of the Indian Constitution

  1. Jawaharlal Nehru's Objectives Resolution, which the Constituent Assembly approved on January 22, 1947, set forth the principles that are reflected in the Preamble to India's Constitution.
  2. The preamble is non-justiciable means its provisions are not enforceable in a court of law.
  3. The Preamble neither grants the legislature, any authority nor forbids it from exercising any type of authority.

Amendments in the Preamble

The 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act, 1976 added the three new terms that are Socialist, Secular, and Integrity the first and the only time when the Preamble was amended.

The Preamble of the Indian Constitution UPSC

The preamble of the Indian Constitution is an important topic of Indian Polity related to UPSC Prelims as well as the UPSC Mains for the IAS Exam.

Here we provide comprehensive notes of the Preamble UPSC. To prepare this or other relevant topics related to the Indian Polity or current affairs. You can also download the NCERT Books for UPSC or reference books for the Indian Polity for UPSC from here.

The Aspirants who are going to appear for the upcoming UPSC Exam can also get UPSC Syllabus and specifically the Syllabus of UPSC Prelims and Syllabus of UPSC Mains.

Download Short Notes on Preamble of Indian Constitution PDF

Preamble UPSC Question

Here aspirants are also facilitated with UPSC Previous Year Question Paper and Other Study Materials.

Question- Prelims 2013- Economic Justice' the objective of the Constitution has been one of the Indian provided in-

  1. The Preamble and Fundamental Rights
  2. The Preamble and the Directive Principles of State Policy
  3. The Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles of State Policy
  4. None of the above

Answer- B

Question- Prelims 2017- The mind of the makers of the Constitution of India is reflected in which of the following?

  1. The Preamble
  2. The Fundamental Rights
  3. The Directive Principles of State Policy
  4. The Fundamental Duties

Answer- A

Question- Prelims 2020- The Preamble to the Constitution of India is-

  1. A part of the Constitution but has no legal effect
  2. Not a part of the Constitution and has no legal effect either
  3. Part of the Constitution and has the same legal effect as any other part
  4. A part of the Constitution but has no legal effect independently of other parts

Answer- D

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FAQs on Preamble

  • In the LIC of India case 1995 Supreme Court ruled that the Preamble is non-justiciable, that is, its provisions are not enforceable in courts of law.

  • There are 73 words in the Preamble of the Constitution which outline the ideals that must guide Indian democracy. Out of which the important keywords of the Preamble are Soren socialist secular Democratic Republic justice liberty and equality.

  • Preamble is in a way the identity card of the Indian Constitution wherein it briefly carries the message and the philosophy of the Constitution. The Preamble is important because it gives the central idea of the purpose and direction of the constitution. Also, we can say that a preamble helps to understand the core objectives of the constitution.

  • It was accepted that the preamble is part of the Constitution after the 42nd Amendment Act, 1976: After the judgment of the Kesavanand Bharati case. It should be noted that the preamble is unamendable in nature. This means that under Article 368 of the Constitution, the preamble can be amended, but the basic structure of the preamble can not be changed.

  • It is only once that the Preamble is amended to add the new three terms by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act, 1976. i.e. Socialist, Secular, and Integrity.

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