Objectives of the preamble
The Philosophy of the Constitution
Political,economic and social. The term justice in the preamble embraces three distinct forms social,economic and political.
Social justice denotes the equal treatment of all citizens without any social distinction based on caste,colour and race, religion,sex and so on. It means absence of privileges being extended to any particular section of the society.
Social justice is a fundamental right. Social justice is the comprehensive form to remove social imbalance by law harmonising the rival claims or the interests of different groups or sections in the social structure or individuals by means of which alone it would be possible to build a welfare state. Providing positive discrimination to the backward classes sucha as SCs ,STs and OBCs and women is a part and parcel of the component of the social justice.
Economic justice denotes the nondiscrimination between people on the basis of economic factors. It involves the elimination of glaring inequalities in wealth, income and property. The banishment of poverty not by expropriation of those who have, but by the multiplication of the national wealth and resources and an equitable distribution their of amongst all who contribute towards its production. This aim of the state is envisaged in the DPSP.
DPSP also reflects economic democracy. Economic democracy in short is nothing but economic justice and the establishment of welfare state. The ideal of economic justice is to make equality of status meaningful and life worth living by removing inequality of opportunity and of status.
Distributive justice means a combination of social justice and economic justice.Political justice means the absence of any arbitrary distiction between man and man in the political sphere. In order to ensure the political justice held out by the preamble, It was essential that every person in the territory of India, irrespective of his property or educational qualification, should be allowed to participate in the political system like any other person.
The objective of universal adult suffrage is the political justice. In every 5 years the members of legislatures of the union and states shall be elected by the vote of the entire adult population in accordance with the principle"one man,one vote". The election commission has been taking various reformatory steps to cleanse the election trend.
With a view to bring about purity in elections, the EC on the direction of Supreme court recognised negative voting on 27-9-2013 and held that a voter could exercise the option of negative voting and reject all candidates as unworthy of being elected. The voter could press the " none of the above (NOTA)" button in the electronic voting machine and for this the court also issued necessary directions to the EC for its compliance.
The term liberty means the absence of restraints on the activities of individuals and at the same time providing opportunities for the development of individual personalities. The preamble secures to all the citizens of India liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship through their fundamental rights which are enforceable in a court of law.
Democracy in any sense cannot be established unless certain minimal rights which are essential for a free and civilised existence, are assured to every member of the community.
Liberty doesnot mean license to do what one likes and has to be enjoyed with in the limitations mentioned in the constitution itself it should be coupled with social restraint and subordinated to the liberty of the greatest number for common happiness. In brief, the liberty conceived by the preamble or the fundamental rights is not absolute but qualified .
The term equality means tha absence of special previleges to any section of the society and the provision of adequate opportunities for all individuals without any discrimination. The preamble secures to all citizens of India equality of status and opportunity.
Guarenteeing of certain rights to each individual would be meaningless unless inequality is banished from the social structure and each individual is assured of equality of status and opportunty for the all round development of personality. This objective is secured by the constitution by making all illegal discriminations between citizen and citizen unconstitutional by the state.
No citizen shall be discriminated merely on the ground of religion, race ,caste, sex or place of birth. All the public places should be thrown open by abolishing untouchability and titles of honour. In the sphere of public employment the equality of opportunity should be provided to all citizens by guarenteeing the equality before the law and equal protection of the laws.
In addition to the above provisions, the constitution seeks to achieve political equality by providing universal adult franchise to participate in electoral arena. Apart from the above provisions in preamble and fundamental rights there are special provisions in the DPSPs according to which the state has to place the two sexes on equal footing in the sphere of economy by providing right to equal work and right to equal pay for equal work for both men and women.
Means "essence of brotherhood". The constitution promotes this feeling of fraternity by the provision of single citizenship. The fundamental duties of constitution also promote harmony and spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India. Democracy would indeed be hollow if it fails to generate this spirit of brotherhood amongst all sections of people that they are all children of same soil and the same motherland. It is this spirit of brotherhood that the preamble reflects.
The preamble declares that fraternity has to assure two things - The dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the nation. The word integrity has been added to the preamble by the 42nd amendment act 1976. The phrase unity and integrity of the nation embraces both the psychological and territorial dimensions of national integration.
Article 1 of the constitution describes India as a union of states, to make it clear that the states have no right to secede from the union. It implies the indestructible nature of the Indian union and aims at removing the hinderances to national integration such as communalism, regionalism, casteism, linguism,secessionism etc.
According to K.M.Munshi the phrase dignity of the individual signifies that the constitution not only ensures material betterment and maintains a democratic setup but it also recongnises that the personality of every individual is sacred. This aspect is highlighted through some of the provisions of the fundamental rights and DPSPs. It is also mentioned in the fundamental duties to protect the dignity of women by renouncing practices derogatory to the dignity of women.
Significance and utility of the preamble
The preamble embodies the basic philosophy and fundamental political, moral and secular values of the constitution. It contains the grand and noble vision of constituent assembly reflecting the dreams and aspirations of the founding fathers. According to Sir Alladi krishnaswamy Iyer the "preamble to our constitution expresses what we had throught/ dreamt so long". According to K.M.Munshi "the preamble is the horoscope of the sovereign, democratic republic".
According to Pt.Takur Das Bhargava "the preamble is the most precious part of the constitution. It is the soul of the consitution. It is a key to the constitution. It is a jewel set in the constitution. It is a proper yardstick with which one measure the worth of the constitution". According to Ernest Barker " the preamble is the keynote to the constitution". The preamble declares the rights and freedom which the people of India intended to secure to all citizens and the realization of ideas and operations.
Though the preamble is not an operative part of the constitution, it aids in the legal interpretation where the language of the constitution is ambiguous and unclear.
Amendibility of the preamble
In the Berubari case 1960 the SC held that preamble is not a part of the constitution.The question related to amendability under Article 368 of the constitution rose for the first time in the case of Keshavanad Bharti in 1973. It was argued that preamble could be amended as it was not a part of the constitution. However, the Supreme Court held that the preamble is a part of constitution and it can be amdemend subject to the conditions of basic structure.
Again in the case of LIC of India 1995 the SC held that the preamble is an integral part of the constitution. The preamble has been amended only once in 1976 by the 42nd constitutional amendment act which added 3 new words- socialist, secular and Integrity. This amendment was considered valid .
Gender justice and transgenders
Article 39A in part IV of the constitution dealing with DPSP provides that the state shall direct its policies towards securing both to men and women equal work and equal pay. Thus, there cannot be any discrimination solely on the ground of gender. The gender justice is also provided by inserting Article 15(1) and 15(2) in fundamental rights. Reservation of seats for women in panchayats and municipalities has also been provided under 243D and 243T of the constitution with a view to make women equal participants in a democratic process.
The sustenance of gender justice is the cultivated achievement of intrinsic human rights. The supreme court in its recent judgment also declared the Hijra/Transgender as third gender for the purpose of safeguarding their rights under part III of our constitution and the law in consonance with the new social needs. This is the recognition of their right to equality as enshrined in Article 14 as wll as their right to life with diginity which is the mandate of the Article 21 of the constitution.
The philosophy contained in the preamble has been further highlighted by emphasizing that each individual shall not only have fundamental rights in part III of the constitution but also a corresponding fundamental duty to uphold the sovereignty, unity and integrity of the nation to maintain secularism and the common brotherhood amongst all the people of India. This has been done by inserting Artical 51(A) laying down 10 (now 11) fundamental duties by the constitutional 42nd amendment act 1976.
By Bala Brahmiah