The preamble to the Indian constitution cannot be regarded as a source of any prohibition or limitation. Discuss in the context of various judgements of the Supreme Court.

Mr. Nani Palkivala, famous constitutional expert described preamble as horoscope of India’s constitution. It embodies the vision of our founding fathers, fundamental principles as well as solemn resolve that nothing but revolution can alter.

Significance:

  • Nature of Indian society – Democratic, Republic, Sovereign, Socialist, Secular.
  • Source of authority – “We, the people”
  • Values of society – Equality, Liberty, Justice, Fraternity and Social, Political & Economic democracy.

Thus, preamble is the introduction and key part of the constitution.

Judgements:

  1. Berubari Case –
    • Preamble is not part of the constitution.
    • It is non-justiciable.
  2. Keshavananda Bharti Case –
    • Preamble is part of India’s constitution.
    • It is non-justiciable.
    • Non source or limitation of legislative power, yet an important guiding light to the constitution.
  3. 42nd constitutional amendment –
    • Added secular, socialist, integrity to the preamble.

Thus, it is beyond doubt that preamble is very much part of the constitution and a beacon light for the judiciary.

Significance:

  1. Key in constitutional interpretation
    • g. Sabarimala Case – Article 17 interpreted broadly to include all forms of social exclusion.
    • Took inspiration from concept of socio-economic-political justice in preamble.
  2. Guiding light to law makers
    • g. Recognition of transgenders, key to respecting human dignity and sacred personality of all.
  3. Helps courts in deciding between various interpretations & constitutionality, in accordance to values of preamble.
  4. Ground of public scrutiny – e.g. Citizenship amendment act opposed as violative of preamble.

Thus, preamble though non-justiciable, is key to India’s constitution and mind of its framers.

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