Preamble To The Indian Constitution: Common Man Perspective


Preamble Of The Indian Constitution: In The Perspective Of A Common Man

In a simple language, the meaning of preamble is - an opening and introductory part of a document, which not only defines the meaning, but also describes the purpose of document. The word preamble is constituted of two syllable i.e. "pre," which means "before" and "amble," which means walk. Hence, a preamble contains facts about the document. 

What is the meaning of Preamble in Indian Constitution?

A preamble is an introductory part of the Indian Constitution that explains the purpose, provision, vision, and philosophy of the Constitution. It gives a brief accounts of the Constitution by focusing on the principles and fundamental values of the document. 

B. R. Ambedkar said:


It was, indeed, a way of life, which recognizes liberty, equality, and fraternity as the principles of life and which cannot be divorced from each other: Liberty cannot be divorced from equality; equality cannot be divorced from liberty. Nor can liberty and equality be divorced from fraternity. Without equality, liberty would produce the supremacy of the few over the many. Equality without liberty would kill individual initiative. Without fraternity, liberty and equality could not become a natural course of things.


The preamble of the Indian Constitution of India not only guides the common people of the country, but also it is their source of energy and hope of sustainability in the future, as it describes the vision, inspiration, and the motto of every Indian citizen.

Components of Preamble of the Indian Constitution

The components of the preamble are:

The preamble of the Constitution clearly highlights that the people of India are the sources of authority. It means power lies with the citizens, as they have the right to elect their representatives and if the chosen representatives do not exercise their duty properly then they can also criticize their representatives.

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 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;


It focuses on the objectives of the Constitution of India, which are Justice, Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity to maintain the integrity and unity of the nation as well as the citizens. Further, it also defines the nature of the Indian State, which is Sovereign, Socialist, Republic, Secular, and Democratic. And, in the last, it illustrates the date of its adoption which is November 26th, 1949

Major Key Terms of Preamble


Sovereign literally means the ultimate independence of a State in respect of all affairs; or in other words, the State that is an authority in itself and does not take the command of anyone, is called as sovereign. So, sovereign state has the power to legislate on any subject or matter in given (its) territory); and it is not subject to the control of any other State or external power.

Important Facts of the Preamble

¨      The preamble is the prelude that briefs and highlights the entire Constitution.

¨      It was adopted on 26 November 1949 by the Constituent Assembly and came into effect on 26 January 1950; which is celebrated as the Republic day in India.

¨   The preamble-page, along with other pages of the original Constitution of India, was designed and decorated by the renowned painter Beohar Rammanohar Sinha of Jabalpur.

¨      The calligraphy was done by Prem Behari Narain Raizada.

¨   The preamble was amended only once on 18 December 1976, (that is the Forty-second Amendment of the constitution). As a result of this amendment, the terms "socialist" and "secular" were added between the words "Sovereign" and "democratic" and the words "unity of the Nation" were amended as "unity and integrity of the Nation".

In a political system, Sovereign may be real or normal, legal or political, individual or pluralistic. In monarchies, sovereignty, normally was vested in one person i.e. monarch; however, in republican form of governments, which mostly prevail in the contemporary world, sovereignty is shifted to the elected representatives of the people. According to one of the pioneer constitutional experts D.D. Basu, the word ‘sovereign’ is taken from Article 5 of the constitution of Ireland. Sometimes, Sovereign may be used as “supreme power,” which means – it is that which is absolute and uncontrolled within its own sphere.

Cooley says, 

"A state is sovereign when there resides within itself supreme and absolute power, acknowledging no superior".

Moreover, sovereignty has two aspects, the first one is external aspect and second one is internal aspect. The external aspect or sovereignty is related to international law means the independence of a particular State on the world map in reference of all the affairs. Sovereign in its relation between states and all states signifies its independence. On the other hand, internal aspect or sovereignty refers to the internal or domestic affairs and the relationship between the different administrative and political units and the citizens within its territory.


Though the term ‘socialist’ was not there in the constitution right from the beginning, but rather added through the 42nd Amendment in 1976. But the constitution have had the socialistic essence and features right from the beginning. So, the meaning of socialist in respect of the constitution is – democratic socialism, which means an achievement of socialistic goals through democratic, flexible and non-violent means (i.e. on Gandhian Principles). Further, it means wealth and other resources should be shared equally by society through distributive justice and essentially should not be concentrated in the hands of a few. On top of this, the government should regulate the ownership of land and industry to reduce socio-economic inequalities.


Like socialist, the term “secular” was also added through the 42nd Amendment, which means the State won’t have any official religion and government has no interference in religious practices of the people. Every citizen is free to choose the religion of his or her choice.


The democratic means, the government in India will be formed through election method and every citizen (who is of 18 years or above and not otherwise debarred by the law) has the constitutional right to vote. So, the people of India elect their representatives by a system of universal adult franchise, popularly known as "one person one vote". 


Republic means a state in which, the supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and which has an elected or nominated government instead of having the hereditary monarch. So, in such type of governance, no one holds public power as proprietary right. 


Here, justice is directly related to rule of law (enshrined in the Article 14 of the Constitution). It ensures there would not be any arbitrariness rather there is system of equal rights, opportunities, and freedom for every individuals.

So, in order to ensure the justice or equality, India has well defined justice in terms of social, economic and political justice as:

  • Social Justice: It ensures, there won’t be any socially privileged class in the society and discrimination on any grounds including caste, creed, color, religion, gender or place of birth, is strictly prohibited.
  • Economic Justice: It ensures, there won’t be any discrimination between man and woman on the basis of income, wealth and economic status. It ensures equitable distribution of wealth & economic equalities.
  • Political Justice: It ensures every eligible citizen should have the equal, free, and fair opportunities to participate in the political system. So, it provides the equal political rights to all the people without discrimination.


It ensures every citizen’s freedom in respect of all their activities and ensures there would not be any unreasonable restriction on any of the Indian citizens in respect of their profession, occupation, views, manner of expressions of their thoughts, their movements, etc.
However, liberty is not absolute or unfettered right rather it must be exercised within the constitutional limits; so, there are reasonable restrictions.


It ensures and promote brotherhood and sense of belonging to each other also with the territory. It strictly avoids regionalism, communalism, casteism, etc. instead it promotes the national integration and unity of state. 

Preamble For the Common Man

The following features recognize and ensure the equality among all irrespective of race, caste, class, sex, color, place of birth, etc.

Socialist: Added through the 42nd amendment, the term socialist ensures democratic socialism. In words of our former Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi ‘equality of opportunity’ or ‘better life for the people’. She further says - socialism is like democracy, everyone has their own set of interpretations but in India socialism is a way for the better life of the people. In addition to this, in the case of D.S. Nakara v. Union of India, the Supreme Court held that 

‘the basic purpose of socialism is to provide a decent standard of life to the people living in the country and to protect them from the day they are born till the day they die’.

Secular: Added through the 42nd amendment, the term secular means that the State would not have any official religion instead it accepts and protects the religious interest of every individuals. All religions will be treated equally and all citizens of India are free to choose and practice any religion of their choice. Most importantly, the state has no right to interfere with the people in respect of their choice of religion, faith or idol of worship.

Present Status of the Preamble

¨      In 1960, in the Berubari Case, the Supreme Court of India stated (presidential reference) that the preamble is NOT an integral part of the Indian constitution, and therefore it is NOT enforceable in a court of law.

¨   However, in the 1973, in Kesavananda Bharati case, Supreme Court over-ruled earlier decision and recognised that the preamble may be used to interpret ambiguous areas of the constitution where differing interpretations present themselves.

¨    Further, in the 1995, in the case of Union Government Vs LIC of India, the Supreme Court confirmed that the Preamble is an integral part of the Constitution.

Democratic: It means government is formed by the people and hence, people are the authority in themselves. In such participation, every citizen has equal right irrespective of class, caste, creed, or gender.

Republic: The term ‘Republic’ is obtained from ‘res publica’ that means public property or commonwealth. In such system, government is formed on election or nomination basis and essentially not on hereditary basis (as we had in monarchical system). So, ultimately (or indirectly), power lies in the hand people itself.

Moreover, the preamble, which is an integral part of the Constitution, is a brief prelude that sets out the meaning, purpose, and vision of the Constitution and gives guidelines that the state and as well as every citizen needs to pursue in order to maintain the peace, security, and harmony in the society.

So, it is definitely hope, aspirations, and source of energy of the common people.