The term Preamble refers to the introduction or preface to the Constitution.
The Preamble is not enforceable in a court of law and, generally, not considered a part of the Constitution, it provides a key to the understanding and interpretation of the Constitution, it has, therefore, been described as the soul of the Constitution. In cases of doubt, the Supreme Court has referred to the Preamble to elucidate vague aspects of the Constitution.
The Constitution of India is preceded by a Preamble which
(i) indicates the source from which it derives authority; and
(ii) states the objective which the constitution seeks to achieve. It has been amended by the 42nd Amendment Act 1976 which added 3 new words– Socialist, Secular & Integrity.
‘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 assures the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the nation.
In our Constituent Assembly this twenty-sixth day of November 1949 we do hereby adopt, enact and give to ourselves this Constitution.
The word sovereign means that India is both internally as well as externally free and is not dependent upon any outside authority. The term ‘socialist’ in the Preamble (inserted by the 42nd Amendment) refers to some form of ownership of means of production and distribution by the state. However, the Indian brand of socialism is quite different and holds faith in a mixed economy. Secularism implies that the state is only concerned with relations between various citizens and is not concerned with relations of man with God. Further, it means that the state has no religion of its own. The term Democratic implies that the government draws its authority from the people. The rulers are elected by the people and are accountable to them. The word republic implies that the head of the state in India shall be an elected person and shall hold office for a fixed term. The President of India is the chief executive head of India.