POLITICAL IDEAS OF THE PREAMBLE
The Preamble summarises the aims and objects of our Constitution. It runs 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 (the words secular and socialist were inserted by the 42nd amendment)
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 26th day of November 1949,do hereby adopt, enact and give to ourselves this Constitution.”
The Preamble’s importance and utility has been pointed out in several decisions of our supreme court. Though not enforceable by a court of law, it seeks to establish and promote and aids the legal interpretation of the Constitution, where the language is found to be ambiguous. Justice M.Hidayatullah aptly described the Preamble as the soul of the Constitution.
Independent and Sovereign : The Constitution of India was brought into existence by the people of India through their representatives assembled in a sovereign Constituent Assembly which was competent to determine the political future of the country in any manner it liked. The words “We the people…..enact and give unto ourselves the Constitution” declares the ultimate sovereignty of the people and the Constitution rests on that authority.
Republic : The Preamble declares that the source of all authority under the Constitution is the people of India and there is no subordination to any external authority. While Pakistan remained a British dominion till 1956 India became a Republic in 1949.
Sovereignty not inconsistent with membership of the commonwealth:
When the Constitution came into force in 1950, the British Crown ceased to have any legal or Constitutional authority over India. But though India declared herself a Republic she did not sever all ties with the Commonwealth. India’s decision to adhere to the Commonwealth without acknowledging allegiance to the Crown converted the British Commonwealth – a relic of imperialism into a free association of independent nations. Nehru asserted in 1949 “this voluntary association of India with the Commonwealth does not affect her sovereignty and it would be open to India to terminate it at any time she finds it not useful.”
Promotion of International Peace : Article 51 of the Constitution declares that the state shall(a) promote international peace and security (b) maintain just and honourable relations (c) foster respect for international law and treaty obligations (d) encourage settlement of international disputes by arbitration.
Thus the fraternity professed in the Preamble is not confined to national territory but is ready to overflow them to reach the loftier ideal of universal brotherhood. India’s Constitution does not support isolationism. India’s sovereignty is consistent with the concept of “one world” international peace and amity.
Democracy : The picture of a democracy which the Preamble envisages is democratic not only from the political but also from the social stand point. It envisages a democratic society infused with the spirit of justice, equality and fraternity.
The democracy envisaged is a REPRESENTATIVE democracy and in our Constitution there are no agencies of direct control by the people such as initiative or referendum. People exercise their sovereignty through a Parliament at the Centre and a legislature in each state elected on adult franchise and to which the real executive, the Council of Ministers shall be responsible. Though there shall be an elected President at the head of the Union and a Governor acting as the President’s nominee at the head of each state, neither of them can exercise any political function without the advice of the Council of Ministers. But though there is no direct participation of all citizens in the administration, the Constitution holds out equality to all citizens in the choice of their representatives who are to run the government machinery.
Government of, by and for the People : The ideal of a democratic republic enshrined in the preamble can be explained with reference to the adoption of universal suffrage and complete equality between sexes not only before law but also in the political sphere. Universal adult franchise was accepted with this end in view – ONE MAN – ONE VOTE.
The offering of equal opportunity to men and women irrespective of caste or creed in public employment implements this democratic ideal. The treatment of minorities brings out that the philosophy underlying the Constitution has not been over looked by those in power. The inclusion of Muslim members as Ministers of the Union and states and in the supreme court demonstrate that those working the constitution have not missed its true spirit, viz. every citizen must regard this country as his own.
DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY : That this Democratic Republic stands for the good of all people is embodied in the concept of a welfare state which inspires the Directive principles. The economic justice assured by the Preamble can hardly be achieved if the democracy envisaged by the Constitution were confined to a political democracy. `Political democracy is by itself not enough; it may be used to obtain a gradually increasing measure of economic democracy; equality and the spread of good things of life to others’. (Nehru)
ECONOMIC JUSTICE : The banishment of poverty by an equitable distribution of wealth amongst all who contribute towards its production is the aim of the state. Economic justice will be ensured when this goal is reached.
LIBERTY : Democracy cannot be established unless certain minimal rights, essential for a free civilised existence are assured to all. The Preamble mentions these as `freedom ofthought, expression, belief, faith and worship’. Guaranteeing of certain rights to each individual would be meaningless unless all inequality is banished from the social structure and each individual is assured of equality of status and opportunity for the development of the best in him.
EQUALITY : The object is secured in the body of the Constitution by making illegal , all forms of discrimination by the State between citizen and citizen simply on the grounds of religion, caste, sex, etc. and by throwing open public places to allcitizens; abolishing untouchability; abolishing titles; equality before law, equal pay for equal work for men and women.
FROM SOCIALISTIC PATTERN OF SOCIETY TO SOCIALISM : The goal envisaged by the Constitution is that of a Welfare state and the establishment of a socialistic pattern of society. The Swaran Singh Committee was of this view and the trend has been from a socialistic pattern to a socialist state which is not only bringing industries and private enterprises under state ownership and management but also itself carrying on trade and business as a state function. In recent times however, it has been realised that the adoption of Socialistic measures had strengthened the economic base of the country and that a certain measure of economic liberalisation can therefore be allowed. Accordingly several measures of liberalisation have been adopted.
NEED FOR UNITY AND INTEGRITY OF THE NATION : Unity amongst the inhabitants of this vast sub-continent torn as under by a multitude of problems and fissiparious tendencies was the first requisite for maintaining independence of the country as well as to make the experiment of democracy successful. But neither the integration of people nor a democratic political system could be ensured without infusing a spirit of brotherhood among people of different races.
FRATERNITY : Cherished by the framers of the Constitution it will be achieved not only by the abolition of untouchability but also by abolition of local or provincial anti-social feelings. Article 1 of the Declaration of Human Rights says `All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.’ The Preamble reflects this spirit of brotherhood.
A SECULAR STATE : The unity and fraternity of the people of India has to be achieved by enshrining the ideal of a secular state which means that the state protects all religions and there is no state religion. Liberty of belief, faith and worship promised in the Preamble is implemented by incorporating the fundamental rights of all citizens relating to freedom of religion.
DIGNITY OF THE INDIVIDUAL : The Preamble assures the dignity of the individual. The Constitution seeks to achieve this by guaranteeing equal fundamental rights to all. A number of directives (in Part IV) exhort the state to shape all its social and economic policies so that all citizens have the right to an adequate means of livelihood and just and humane conditions of work.
Combining the ideals of political, social and economic democracy with that of liberty, equality and fraternity the Preamble seeks to establish what Gandhiji described as the India of My Dreams `an India in which the poorest shall feel that it is their country in whose making they have an effective voice; in which all communities live in perfect harmony; in which there can be no room for the curse of untouchability or intoxicating drinks and drugs and in which women will enjoy the same rights as men.’
An Objective Type test will be held on this in the Class. Hence study this topic carefully. In the Main exam also expect a short note question on this topic. It is good to memorize the Preamble. Note in Particular the changes introduced in the Preamble. You can ask questions on any area.