The Preamble traces its origins to even before the task of drafting the Constitution began. The foundations of the Preamble were laid down in the Objectives Resolution moved by Jawaharlal Nehru before the Constituent Assembly in December 1946.
The Objective resolution contained “India as an Independent Sovereign Republic and to draw up for her future governance a Constitution”, which would secure “to all the people of India justice, social, economic and political; equality of status, of opportunity, and before the law; freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith worship, vocation, association and action”, among other goals. The resolution was enthusiastically supported by most of the members and was adopted in January 1947.
The Drafting Committee modified the content of the Objectives Resolution. The Committee adopted the expression “Sovereign Democratic Republic” instead of “Sovereign Independent Republic”, as it considered independence to be implied in the word “Sovereign”. The Committee introduced a clause on “Fraternity” to emphasize upon the need for fraternal concord and goodwill in India, which was specifically greater than ever, after the Partition.
One member sought to include “In the name of God” in the beginning of the Preamble. The Assembly rejected the proposed amendment. Another member argued that inclusion of God would amount to compulsion of faith and violate the fundamental right to freedom of faith. Another member stated that invoking the name of God in the Preamble would resemble “a narrow, sectarian spirit, which is contrary to the spirit of the Constitution.” The Assembly adopted the Preamble as presented by the Drafting Committee.
The addition of the words “Socialist” and“Secular” into the Preamble by the 42nd constitutional amendment during the Emergency in 1976 did not alter its nature or identity. It merely provided a label to what was already in existence. There are three key points in support of this contention. First, in support of Nehru’s Objectives Resolution, one member explained that the content of economic democracy and rejection of the existing social structure reflected through the phrases “justice, social, economic and political” and “equality of opportunity” represent the socialist aspect of the Resolution, without providing it with an open label. These phrases were later adopted into the Preamble. Second, by rejecting inclusion of any phrase on God in the Preamble, the Assembly adopted a secular document instead of a sectarian one. Third, the Preamble embodies the philosophy of the Constitution, which is reflected through the phrases “justice, social, economic and political” and “equality of opportunity” represent the socialist aspect of the Resolution, without providing it with an open label. These phrases were later adopted into the Preamble. Second, by rejecting inclusion of any phrase on God in the Preamble, the Assembly adopted a secular document instead of a sectarian one. Third, the Preamble embodies the philosophy of the Constitution, which is reflected through its provisions and the basic structure. As Justice DY Chandrachud held in one of his judgments, the addition of the word “secular” solidified the basic structure of the Constitution, which enshrines secularism in the fundamental rights chapter.
Concluding remark while giving the readers a food for thought while considering the present constitutional crisis and chaos:
A Constitution reflects the hopes and aspirations of people. Constitution is not a gate but a road.
(H.R. KHANNA, J,Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala AIR1973 SC 1461)
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