By- Aaditya Sinha

Preamble is a word which I literally heard in my every first legal subject class, either it be Law of contract, Indian Penal Code or any other codified law. So I used to get confused that how are these “preamble” in different bare acts actually different from the “actual preamble”.

It can happen that it didn’t come to your mind, but I was a very ordinary student in schools so I just vividly remembered preamble that too because it was in every NCERT book. So, I thought that it was the “actual preamble” and rest others are” just preamble”.

I actually googled this word, and it showed me different synonyms like “Preliminary”, “introduction”, etc. So, then I understood that a preamble is something which can be loosely called as a blueprint of the whole text we are going to read in the near future.

I understood that there is nothing called actual preamble or just preamble, a preamble is for every bare act and so is our Constitution. So, we have a preamble for our Constitution. In this blog, we are going to talk about the preamble of the Constitution.

Drafting of preamble

It was Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India, he presented a draft which was about “how the Constitution of India should look like”. He actually proposed this in front of the constituent assembly, on 13th Dec 1946 it was presented and was known as “Objective resolution”. This was later on 22nd Jan 1947 was then adopted as a preamble of the Indian Constitution


Let’s first understand the different words which are used in the preamble of the Constitution.

In our preamble, we are actually taking a pledge to make India a country into a (Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic).

The first thing which everyone should know is that when the preamble was actually framed it included only Sovereign Democratic Republic, although again there is a thing that if secular and socialist was not present then it doesn’t mean that at that time India was not interested in socialism and secularism. It was just a reason that they actually not included those words. They were added n the 42nd amendment

Sovereignty: A sovereign country means a country where the State of the county can make their own laws and no other country can interfere in their internal matter if of course something unusual circumstances have come. The definition of a “State” also includes the concept of sovereignty, so in order to be called a State one has to be a sovereign in their power. So, India always wanted to be a sovereign country which is why it is the first word which is mentioned in the preamble of the Constitution of India.

Socialist: Socialism is although a political ideology and may have many interpretations to it; in the Indian context the idea was to build an economy that was State-funded because socialism talks about State controlling the economy. It actually worked decently for some years, although this discussion actually needs a separate text for that.

Secular: Now, this is the word which you can see or listen everywhere, the thing is this word may have many interpretations, but it would not be wrong to say that secularism was probably one of the reasons, why India was created.

Now before you start calling me to be from a specific party or political ideology, hear me out. India and Pakistan were divided on the basis of religion, then India could have easily accepted this condition of Pakistan and India would have been a “Hindu Rashtara” but the thing is that our leaders were very much sure that we have to make a country where every person from different religion can live peacefully and now this is probably the basic difference between the “meaning of secularism in the west and in India”.

In the west, secularism is more of a separation of religion from the State whereas in India it is actually more of a “Religious tolerance”. Now, many people also misrepresent this religious tolerance from only the minority aspect, but the thing is that we as a country want a State where every people from any religion feel safe and can get equal opportunities and in some cases where the minorities get special treatment that doesn’t mean that it is against the idea of the secularism. It is actually an example of Article 14 of Indian Constitution which talks about both “equality before the law and equal protection of the law”.

Democratic: A democratic country means a country where the government is elected by the people and the State is running with the inputs of the people, and in a democratic country every citizen has some rights. In the context of the preamble, it was quite clear that we always wanted to have a country that can be chosen by the people and should run by the people. In India there is a system known as “one person one vote” which is from a concept of “Universal Adult Suffrage”.

Republic: It means that India always wanted to be a “nation” where there is no monarch.

In the preamble, our Constitution-makers also took a pledge to give all its citizens securing all its citizens following:

“Justice: Social Justice, Economic Justice, and political justice” [1]

“Liberty: of thoughts, expression, belief, faith, and worship” [2]

“Equality of status and of opportunity” [3]

“Fraternity: To assure the dignity of each individual and also the integrity and unity and integrity of the whole nation.”[4]

It is again to be noted that the unity and integrity of the nation were added in the 42nd Amendment of the Constitution.

Article 368 of Indian Constitution: Can Constitution be amended including the preamble?

Actually, when preamble was made, it was actually in the Constitution, but in the case of Re berubari Union and exchange of enclaves (Re berubari v. Union of India) there was a verdict that in article 368 the parliament has the power to change anything from the Constitution but they certainly cannot change the preamble “since it is not a part of the Constitution”.

However in the landmark judgment of keshvanda bharti case (Keshvanda Bharti v. State of Kerela), when a bench of 13 judges said that anything in the Constitution can be amended in the Constitution including the preamble “since it is also a part of the preamble” but the most important thing which the court said was that although anything can be changed in the Constitution but in article 368 of Indian Constitution nothing can be changed which is against the “Basic Structure of Constitution”. It is known as basic structure doctrine.

This is the case probably which actually gave us freedom in a real sense, because if there would be law in which the parliament could have changed anything in the Constitution then any government could have changed anything, but since it was the part of the Constitution the court’s decision was very contrasting in different cases, but it was the keshvanda bharti case, which gave clarity that although the parliament can change anything they cannot change the “Basic structure” of the Constitution.

[1] Preamble from the Indian Constitution

[2] Id

[3] Id

[4] Id


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