The word ‘Preamble’ means a preliminary or introductory statement in speech or writing.
Every constitution has a preamble with which it begins and which embodies its objectives or basic purposes.
The preamble, like the long title, is a part of statue and is an admissible aid to its construction. In the words of Dyer, C.J., the preamble is the “key to open the minds of the makers of the Act, and the mischief’s which they intended to redress.”
The Constitution of India begins with a Preamble which describes the nature of the Indian State and the objectives it is committed to secure.
The Preamble reads:
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, political;
Liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
Equality of status and 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.
The words ‘Socialist’, ‘Secular’, and ‘Integrity’ were initially not there in the Preamble. These were added by the 42nd Amendment (1976) of the Constitution.
Essential Ingredients of the preamble –
Reading the preamble, one can see the purposes, that it serves’, the declaration of:
- The source of the constitution,
- Objectives of the political system, and
- Date of its adoption and enactment.
- The source of the constitution:
- The opening and closing words of the people, “we, the people of India, adopt, enact and give to ourselves this constitution” convey that the constitution emanated from the people and the sovereignty-under the constitution vested in the people.
- Most of the modern constitutions emphasise the same principle.
- Since the constituent Assembly enacted and adopted the constitution in the name of the people of India, the question has been asked whether the Assembly was really representative of the people of India.
- Type of Government:
- The polity assured to the people of India by the constitution is described in the preamble as a sovereign, socialist, secular, Democratic Republic.
- Objectives of the political systems:
- The preamble proceeds further to define the objectives of the Indian politics system. These objectives are four in number justice. Liberty, equality and fraternity.
- Date of Adoption and Enactment:
- The last part of the Preamble mentions the date, which is the twenty-sixth day of November, 1949 on which the constituent Assembly adopted, enacted and gave this constitution to the nation.
- The preamble came into force only on January 26, 1950. A proposal was made in the constituent Assembly that the preamble should come in to force on November 26, 1949, but the said proposal was rejected.