Kriyaa Hi Vastoopahutaa Praseedati

Indian Polity, Study Materials

Sources and Preamble of Constitution

Indian constitution is a blend of various features which are borrowed from different constitutions throughout the world. This is what makes it the most distinct constitution in the world. Few of the borrowed features are listed below:

Constitution of the United States of America:

  • Fundamental Rights
  • Independence of Judiciary
  • Impeachment of President
  • Judicial Review
  • Removal of the Supreme Court and the High Court Judges.
  • Role of Vice President
  • The Preamble to the Constitution

Constitution of the United Kingdom:

  • The Parliamentary System
  • The Election Procedure
  • Office of Comptroller and Auditor General
  • Writ Jurisdiction of Courts
  • Civil Services
  • The Law-Making Procedures
  • Cabinet System
  • Martial Law
  • Bicameralism
  • Rule of Law
  • System of Single Citizenship

Constitution of Ireland:

  • Directive Principles of State Policy
  • The method of Indian Presidential Election
  • The nomination of Members of Rajya Sabha

Constitution of Australia:

  • Concurrent List
  • A joint sitting of 2 houses of the Parliament
  • Provisions regarding trade and commerce and intercourse

Constitution of Canada:

  • The Federal System with a strong Center
  • Appointment of the State Governor
  • Advisory jurisdiction of SC
  • Residuary Powers

Other Constitutions:

  • South Africa: Amendment Procedure of the Constitution and Election of Members of Rajya Sabha
  • France: Republic, Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.
  • Japan: Procedure Established by Law
  • Former USSR: Fundamental Duties, Justice (Social, Economic, and Political)
  • Germany: Suspension of Fundamental Rights during Emergency

From more than one Constitution:

  1. Australia and UK: The Parliamentary Privileges
  2. Australia and USA: Public Interest Litigation

Preamble

  • The Preamble to the constitution embodies the essence of the entire constitution and is like an introduction or preface of a book.
  • It explains the purposes and objectives with which the constitution has been written, and hence provides a guideline to the constitution.
  • The Objective Resolution, proposed by Pandit Nehru and passed by the Constituent Assembly, ultimately became the Preamble to the Constitution of India.

Objectives

  • Description of Indian State as Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic Republic.
  • Provision to all the citizens of India i.e.,
  • Justice – social, economic and political.
  • Liberty – of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship.
  • Equality – of status and of opportunity.
  • Fraternity – assuring the dignity of the individual and unity and integrity of the nation

Preamble: A part of the Constitution or not?

  • Kesavananda Bharati v/s State of Kerala (1973) case overruled its earlier decision (Berubari Case 1965) and made it clear that the Preamble is a part of the constitution and is subjected to the amending power of the Parliament within the core limits of the basic structure doctrine.
  • It is an important guide to interpret the true spirit of the Constitution.
  • LIC of India Case (1995) – upheld the Preamble and said that it is an integral part of the Constitution

Can the Preamble be amended?

  • Kesavananda Bharati Case (1973) has held that the Preamble may be amended subject to the basic structure of the Constitution.
  • In other words, the amendment should not destroy the basic features of it.
  • In fact, Preamble has been amended by 42nd Amendment 1976, whereby three words viz. socialist, secular and integrity were added.

Keywords mentioned in the Preamble

  • The word ‘Sovereign’ emphasizes that there is no authority outside India on which the country is in any way dependent.
  • By the word ‘Socialist’ the Constitution means that the achievement of the socialistic pattern of society through democratic means.
  • India is a ‘Secular State’, does not mean that India is non-religious or irreligious, or anti-religious, but simply that the State in itself is not religious and follows the age-old Indian principle of “Sarva Dharma Sambhava”. It also means that the State shall not discriminate against the citizens in any way on the basis of religion.
  • The State regards religion to be the private affair of a person, including the right to believe or not to believe in a religion.
  • The term ‘Democratic’ means that the rulers elected by the people only, have the authority to run the government. India follows a system of ‘Representative Democracy’, where the MPs and MLAs are elected directly by the people.
  • Efforts are being made to take democracy to the grassroots through Panchayats and Municipalities (73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendment Acts, 1992).
  • However, the Preamble and DPSP envisages not only political democracy, but also social and economic democracies.
  • The word ‘Republic’ means, the head of the state is an elected representative (directly or indirectly) and not the hereditary monarch.

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