The Preamble of the Indian Constitution: How Far Is It Useful in Interpreting the Constitution

Abstract

This Article examines “The Preamble of The Indian Constitution: How far is it useful in interpreting the Constitution.” The Preamble declares that the Constitution originated its authority from the people of India. Preamble demonstrates the fundamental principles that direct our Constitution, such as sovereignty, secularism, socialism, democracy, and republicanism.

The Supreme Court has ruled that while the preamble is not enforceable on its own, it can be used to interpret constitutional provisions when they are difficult to ascertain. This Article’s objective is, throw light on “The Preamble of The Indian Constitution: How far is it useful in interpreting the Constitution” in terms of judicial interpretation by the court of law in India.

In addition to this, the Article also aims to critically analyse the role of the Preamble to interpret Constitutional provisions and put some suggestions or recommendations for further research study.

Keywords – Preamble, Constitution, Interpretation, Amendment and Fundamental Principles.

Introduction

The Preamble encapsulates the Constitution’s core philosophy and fundamental values—political, moral, and religious. It includes the Legislative Assembly’s grand as well as noble vision, as well as the hopes and ambitions of the Constitution’s founding fathers.

“The Preamble to our Constitution reflects what we had felt or dreamed for so long, said Sir Alladi Krishnaswami Iyer,”[1] a member of the Constituent Assembly who played a significant part in the development of the Constitution.

The Indian Constitution was adopted on November 26, 1949, and then amended by the “42ndConstitutional Amendment in 1976.”[2] India became a Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, and Democratic Republic as a result of the amendment. Our Constitution’s Preamble guarantees justice, liberty, and equality for all Indian people, as well as national brotherhood.

The Preamble of the Indian Constitution represents the Constitution’s basic structure and meaning. “The Preamble serves as a guiding mechanism for the interpretation of its Constitution’s provisions.”[3]

Role of the Preamble in Interpreting the Constitution of India

The Role of the Preamble in the Understanding of the Constitution is more than a project report; it appropriate extent the invulnerable meaning of the preamble, which supplements and nourishes the Constitution’s core purpose or structure. It preserves the fundamental framework that has been in place since the foundation of the country. Despite the fact that the Indian Constitution’s preamble is not an operative part of the Constitution of India, it serves a number of important roles. It outlines the constitution’s fundamental principles and objectives.

Perspective under Indian or International Scenario

  1. Perspective Under Indian Constitution

The method of reading the Constitution’s Preamble is an inextricable part of the art and science of Constitutional interpretation. D.D. Basu has mentioned that when the enacting section’s language is plain and unequivocal, the Preamble’s words cannot justify or limit the enactment.

It is possible that the enacting aspect of a statue would not exist side by side with the object stated in the Preamble. In such circumstances, the section will govern if the language of the section is plain, since the general terms of the Preamble do not signify or cover all the mischiefs that are found to be covered in the enacting parts of the Act itself.

  1. Perspective Under USA Constitution[4]

In its most precise form, the preamble of the United States Constitution includes a “declaration” and a descriptive goal. The declaration states that the citizens of the United States “ordain and establish” the United States of America’s Constitution. It isn’t just a piece of paper signed by the thirteen nations.

The preamble to India’s constitution, on the other hand, consists of two major parts:

  1. It identifies the source of the constitution’s authority, and
  2.  It identifies the goals and objectives that the constitution aspires to achieve. It’s a key to unlocking the creators’ minds.
  1. Perspective Under Canada’s Constitution[5]

Many statutes, as well as political conventions and judicial procedures, make up Canada’s Constitution. The Preamble states that the provinces of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick have reflected a willingness to be federally united into one area that under crown, with such a constitution identical from that of the United Kingdom in terms of principles.

The Constitution’s Preamble lists four goals: to satisfy the constituent units of Canada’s desire to create a union there under crown; to foster the welfare of the provinces; and to fulfil the wishes of the British Empire.

That a legislative branch and an executive government are created, and that other areas of British North America are eventually admitted to the union. In comparison to the Canadian Preamble, the Indian Preamble states that the main goal of the state is to constitute a democratic, republican, sovereign, socialist, and secular state; and achieve social, economic, and political justice; to ensure liberty of thought, speech, belief, faith, and worship; and also to ensure equality of status and opportunity.

Since the Indian Preamble sets out the fundamental framework of the Indian Constitution in a way that the Preambles of Canada and the United States do not, it can be argued that the Indian Preamble is more organised than the Preambles of the United States and Canada.

Summary of Leading Cases with Important Issues

  1. State of Kerala vs. Keshavananda Bharti[6]

The Supreme Court ruled that the Preamble is indeed a part of the Constitution that can be changed, but that the Parliament cannot change the Preamble’s basic features. “The institution of our Constitution is built upon the fundamental element in the Preamble,” the court said. The system will not survive if all of these components are withdrawn, and the Constitution wasn’t the same.

  1. A.K. Gopalan v. State of Madras[7]

The Supreme Court ruled that the term “law” in Article 21 applies to state-made law rather than natural law. It was also pointed out that the interpretation of Article 21’s language could not be changed by referring to the Preamble. The Court was asked to consider whether the Indian Constitution’s preamble, which aims to give India a common Constitution, should have been a major factor from its interpretation.

 It was also argued that any statute enacted under Article 21 of the Constitution should be declared unconstitutional if it violates natural justice values, and that the fundamental rights to life and liberty will be unaffected.

  1. Union Government v. LIC of India[8]

In this case, the Supreme Court held that perhaps the Preamble is an integral part of the Indian Constitution. It states that the India Constitution was drafted by the people of India. It is a people’s, for people’s, and by people’s act. It establishes the privileges and freedoms that Indian people are entitled to.

  1. Kashi Prasad v.State of Uttar Pradesh [9]

The Hon’ble Supreme Court held in this case that, although the Preamble cannot be used to uphold the legislation’s provisions, this could be used as a valuable source for interpreting the law.

  1. S.R. Bommai v. Union of India[10]

In this case, the Hon’ble Court stated that the word “Secularism” from Preamble of the Constitution of India, this word is beyond the amending power of the Parliament because this word can be declared as one of the basic features of the Constitution of India.

Conclusion and Suggestions

“The Preamble declares that the Constitution originated its authority from the people of India.”[11]The Supreme Court of India held in the Berubari case that the Preamble is not a part of the Constitution and thus cannot be amended. As a consequence, there has been deterioration in the ideas that can be highlighted as India’s leading spirit.

Furthermore, in the “Kesvananda Bharati case,”[12] the Supreme Court decided that the Preamble is an integral part of the Indian Constitution and hence can be amended. The values of preamble guided the Constitution until they were included, but their inclusion enhanced their value and explicitness.

Since our Constitution is the supreme law of our nation, it is self-evident that the Preamble is the most important part of any text. But, is it true that our Constitution is so full and perfect? Our Constitution, as we all know, contains over 108 amendments.

So, before constructing any fundamental structures, we must first complete the framework and provisions of our Constitution. The preamble, in my opinion, is the subject that establishes the status of any text, statute, or law and need more attention of the judiciary and legislature.

References

1.         J.N.Pandey, the Constitution of India, Central Law Agency, 2010.

2.         P. Mahendra Singh, Constitution of India. Eastern Book Company, 2008.

3.         Narender Kumar, Constitutional Law of India, Allahabad Law Agency, 2008.

4.         OP Gauba, An Introduction to Political Theory, Macmillan India Ltd., 2007.

5.         Basu, Durga Das, Shorter Constitution of India volume 1, Lexis Nexis Butterworths

Wadhwa, 2010


[1]  Insights Editor, general studies-1(2021),https://www.insightsonindia.com/2021/02/18/secure-synopsis-18-february-2021/ (last visit  march.6,2021 )

[2]THE CONSTITUTION (FORTY-SECOND AMENDMENT) ACT( 1976)https://legislative.gov.in/constitution-forty-second-amendment-act-1976(last visit march.7,2021)

[3]Chandrashekhar Sharma, Role of Preamble Interpretation with Indian Constitutionhttp://www.legalservicesindia.com/article/1390/Role-of-Preamble-Interpretation-with-Indian-Constitution.html (last visit march.5,2021)

[4]Arti Goya, Preamble to the Constitution of India(2014), https://www.lawctopus.com/academike/preamble-constitution-india/ (last visit march.5,2021)

[5]Arti Goya, Preamble to the Constitution of India(2014), https://www.lawctopus.com/academike/preamble-constitution-india/ (last visit march.5,2021)

[6]State of Kerala vs. Keshavananda Bharti,( 1973) 4 SCC 255, AIR 1973 SC 1461 (India).

[7] A.K. Gopalan v. State of Madras,( 1950 )AIR 27(India).

[8]Union Government v. LIC of India(2003) 179 CTR Raj 432 (India).

[9] Kashi Prasad v.State of Uttar Pradesh ,(1950)AIRALL 735 (India).

[10] S.R. Bommai v. Union of India (1994)  AIRSCC 1 (India).

[11]Arti Goya, Preamble to the Constitution of India(2014), https://www.lawctopus.com/academike/preamble-constitution-india/ (last visit march.5,2021)

[12]Percival Billimoria and FarazSagar, India: Kesavananda Bharati v. State Of Kerala And The Basic Structure Doctrine(2017)https://www.mondaq.com/india/constitutional-administrative-law/633634/kesavananda-bharati-v-state-of-kerala-and-the-basic-structure-doctrine (last visit march.7,2021)

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