The Constituent Assembly debated the Preamble on 17 October 1949. The debates around the Preamble revolved around the name of India and inclusion of ‘God’ and ‘Gandhi’. One member urged the Assembly to rename India as the ‘Union of Indian Socialistic Republics’, similar to the USSR. Members were not convinced with this suggestion as they felt that it would go against the already adopted constitutional scheme. Another member sought to include ‘In the name of God’, Many were opposed to this suggestion – it was noted that it was unfortunate to put ‘God’ on vote. One member believed that inclusion of ‘God’ would amount to a ‘compulsion of faith’, and violate the fundamental right to freedom of faith.

A proposal was made to include Gandhi’s name in the Preamble as well. But this was opposed by a member, who was discontent with the already adopted draft articles as he felt that the Indian constitution was based on the American Supreme Court cases and Government of India Act. He opposed any association of Gandhi with this ‘rotten Constitution’. All the amendments moved by the members were either withdrawn or negatived. However, this was one of the rare instances of the Assembly proceedings wherein the members voted on the proposal to include ‘God’ by a show of hands. The Assembly was divided with 41 voting in favour and 68 voting against it. Ultimately, the Assembly adopted the Preamble as presented by the Drafting Committee.

Keyword– Constitution, India, Preamble, Government.


A “Constitution” means a text with a specific legal sanctity setting out the structure and the key roles of state government institutions and stating the principles regulating the functioning of those institutions. Indian Constitution is an organic written document in which the powers of government are vested and circumscribed. The Constitution is the supreme and fundamental law of the land, and all governing institutions that owe their existence to the Constitution and derive their powers from its provisions must act within the constitutional structure and cannot do something that is incompatible with the constitutional provisions.


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; IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this twenty-sixth day of November, 1949, do HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION.”

The Preamble to the Constitution of India presents the principles of the Constitution and indicates the sources of its authority. The preamble is based on the Objectives Resolution, which was moved in the Constituent Assembly by Jawaharlal Nehru on 13 December 1946 accepted on 22 January 1947 and adopted by the Constituent Assembly on 26 November 1949, coming into force on 26 January 1950. The ideals behind the Preamble to India’s Constitution were laid down by Jawaharlal Nehru’s Objectives Resolution, adopted by the Constituent Assembly on January 22, 1947. Although not enforceable in court, the Preamble states the objectives of the Constitution, and acts as an aid during the interpretation of Articles when language is found ambiguous.

Preamble indicates the source from which the Constitution comes, i.e. the People of India who have adopted, enacted and given to themselves the Constitution. Its objectives are Justice, Liberty, Equity and Fraternity. The major goal is to secure the dignity of the individuals and unity and integrity of the Nation. Preamble is considered as the soul and spirit of the Constitution. It is the key to the mind of the framers of the Constitution. Not enforceable in the court of law. It represents the philosophy and idea behind the Constitution.

SOVEREIGN in the preamble portrays that India is a supreme and absolute power acknowledging no superior. India has full authority over its internal and external matters. Sovereignty is with the ‘People of India’.

DEMOCRATIC Indicates that some form of Government is formed. Means Government of the People, by the People and for the People. It shows the absence of monarchy or dictatorship. People have the right to rule themselves.

REPUBLIC shows the absence of hereditary ruler. Head of the State to be elected by the people for a fix period.

SOCIALISM indicates free from any forms of exploitation- social, economic and political.

SECULAR means no religion of the State. It is about treating all religions alike” and not State neutrality in matters of religion”.

JUSTICE is attainment of the common good, not individual good. Harmony between individuals; groups of people; and between individuals and groups.

LIBERTY is the absence of interference in individual freedom. Guarantees liberty of thought, expression, belief faith and worship. On the basis of Liberty, Fundamental Rights are provided.

EQUALITY signifies un-biasness of status and availability of opportunity to everyone.

FRATERNITY signifies brotherhood among all Indians. Gives unity and solidarity to social life. Assures a dignified life.

Berubari Union case

In this case, it was held by the Supreme Court that the Preamble is the part of the Constitution. However, it recognised that the Preamble could be used as a guiding principle if a term in any article of the Constitution is ambiguous or has more than one meaning.

Keshvananda Bharti v. State of Kerala

In this case, The Supreme Court overturned its earlier decision and held that the Preamble is a part of the Constitution and can be amended under Article 368 of the Constitution. Again, in LIC of India case, the Supreme Court held that the Preamble is a part of the Constitution.


The preamble is considered as a backbone of the Constitution. It ensures protection of all the fundamental values. It deals with all the guiding principles of the Constitution.  It contains the philosophy to build and develop the entire constitution and hence is called the soul of the constitution.


  1. Preamble, Constitution of India (Last accessed on 6th October 11.58 AM)
  2. Preamble to the Constitution of India, Wikipedia, (Last accessed on 6th October, 11.42 AM)
  3. Preamble to the Indian Constitution, Legal Service India E-journal,and%20integrity%20of%20the%20nation. (Last accessed on 6th October, 12.01 PM)

Author- Abirami Mohan, B.M.S. College of Law, Bengaluru

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