The main opposition party in the Lok Sabha has alleged that the words “socialist” and “secular” were absent from the copies of the Indian Constitution’s Preamble provided to Members of Parliament.
GS II: Polity and Governance
Dimensions of the Article:
- Text of the Original Preamble of the Constitution
- Amendment to the Preamble
- The Preamble serves as the introductory section or preface of the Constitution and encapsulates its essence.
- Eminent jurist N. A. Palkhivala referred to the Preamble as the Constitution’s “identity card.”
- The practice of commencing a constitution with a Preamble was first seen in the American Constitution and was subsequently adopted by several nations, including India.
- India’s Preamble is derived from the ‘Objectives Resolution,’ originally drafted and presented by Jawaharlal Nehru, and approved by the Constituent Assembly on January 22, 1947.
- The Preamble translates the ideals contained in the Objectives Resolution into written words.
Significance of the Preamble of the Constitution:
- The Preamble encapsulates the fundamental philosophy and core values, encompassing political, moral, and religious aspects, upon which the Constitution is founded.
- It embodies the lofty vision of the Constituent Assembly and reflects the aspirations and dreams of the Constitution’s framers.
- Serving as an introductory section, it outlines the Constitution’s fundamental principles and objectives.
Text of the Original Preamble of the Constitution:
- WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN 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 of the Nation;
- IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this twenty-sixth day of November, 1949, do HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION.
Ingredients of the Preamble:
The Preamble comprises four essential components:
- Source of authority of the Constitution: It establishes that the Constitution derives its authority from the people of India.
- Nature of Indian State: It declares India to be a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic, and republican polity.
- Objectives of the Constitution: It outlines justice, liberty, equality, and fraternity as the Constitution’s objectives.
- Date of adoption of the Constitution: It specifies November 26, 1949, as the date of adoption.
Amendment to the Preamble:
- The 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act (1976) introduced three new words into the Preamble: “Socialist,” “Secular,” and “Integrity.”
Addition of the word “Socialist:”
- During this period, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s government emphasized pro-poor initiatives with slogans like “garibi hatao.”
- The inclusion of the term “Socialist” in the Preamble highlighted socialism as a fundamental goal and philosophy of India.
- It’s important to note that the envisioned socialism in India did not involve the complete nationalization of all means of production, distinct from the socialism of the USSR or China at the time.
Addition of the word “Secular:”
- India’s citizens practice diverse faiths and embrace unity in diversity.
- “Secularism” was introduced to reflect this unity and fraternity despite differences in class, caste, culture, religion, etc.
- Including “secular” in the Preamble signified that the state protects all religions and treats every citizen impartially.
- A secular Indian state prioritizes human relationships over the relationship between a person and God, making it a matter of individual choice.
- The secular nature of the Indian state is reinforced by Articles 25-28 of the Constitution, safeguarding religious freedom.
-Source: Indian Express