1) In all most all acts, there is a preamble which signifies the objects and aims for which the act is passed. In other words ‘Preamble’ indicates ‘the broad character of the legislation that is enacted’.
2) It occurs at the outset and serves as a preface to the act. It sets out the main objectives of the legislation. As the constitution is also legislation, there is always a preamble to the constitution also.
SCOPE OR ROLE OF PREAMBLE IN THE INTERPRETATION OF CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS:-
- In Golak Nath vs. the State Of Punjab [AIR 1967 SC 1643], it was observed that the preamble, in general, contains the ideas and aspirations of the people and the mode of realization of the ideas and aspirations is worked out in detail in the constitution.
- It is a settled ruled that the preamble cannot be made use of to control enactments themselves where they are expressed in clear and unambiguous terms.
- It is only when the preamble conveys a clear and definite meaning to comparison with relatively obscure or indefinite enacting words that the preamble may legitimately prevail. The principle is applicable equally while interpreting the constitution.
- In Anwar Ali vs. State of West Bengal, [AIR 1952 cal. 150], the Calcutta high court observed that when the words of an act are clear in themselves, their meaning cannot be cut down or enlarged or otherwise affected by reference to the preamble.
- But when the meaning of any provision is not clear or is doubtful or ambiguous, the preamble may be referred to interpret and ascertain the aim and objective of the legislation if the knowledge of such aim and objective will remove the ambiguity of a provision.
- In Berubari Union and Exchange of Enclaves, [AIR 1960 SC 845], the court had observed that the preamble cannot be regarded as imposing any limitation on the power to cede parts of the national territory and further observed that preamble cannot control the unambiguous of the articles of the Indian constitution.
- In Re President of India, [AIR 1960 SC 845], the supreme court observed that the preamble can never be regarded as the source of any substantive power conferred on the government nor can the preamble be regarded as the source of any prohibitions and limitations.
- In Keshavananda Bharati vs. the State of Kerala, [AIR 1973 SC 1461], the Supreme Court observed that the preamble to the Constitution of India did not walk before the constitution as it is interpreted concerning the constitution of the USA.
- But the preamble to our constitution is a part of our constitution and the founding fathers felt it necessary to incorporate in the preamble the essential features of the new state leaving the sovereignty to the people.
In many cases, the court observed that the preamble cannot restrict or extend the meaning of the enacting part when the language and the scope of the act are not opened to doubt.
IS THE PREAMBLE PART OF CONSTITUTION? (Preamble under the Indian Constitution)
1) At first, the Supreme Court of India did not consider preamble as part of the constitution. In Re Berubari Union and Exchange of Enclaves, [(1960) 3 SCR 250,281-2] A.SC 845], it has been observed,”………..a key to open the mind of the makers’ which may show the general purposes for which they made the several provisions in the constitution, but nevertheless the preamble is not a part of the constitution, and willingly has observed of the preamble to the American constitution.
2) In Sajjan Singh vs. the State of Rajasthan, [AIR 1965 SC 845], it was observed that while the preamble was the key to the mind of the constitution matter, it could not be regarded as a part of the constitution.
3) However, later the Supreme Court, in Keshvananda Bharati vs State of Kerala [AIR 1973 SC 1461], held that the preamble is the part of the constitution by rejecting the above view. It seems to me that the preamble of our constitution is of extreme importance and the constitution should be read and interpreted in the light of the grand and noble vision expressed in the preamble.
4) In S.R. Bommai vs. Union of India, [AIR 1994 SC 1918], Hon’ble K. Ramaswamy, J., has observed, “The preamble of the constitution is an integral part of the constitution, democratic form of government, federal structure, integrity and unity of the nation, secularism, socialism, social justice, and judicial review are basic features of the constitution.
5) In the Supreme Court, several judges held in different cases that the preamble was a part of our constitution.
CONCLUSION(Preamble under the Indian Constitution):-
It is concluded that whenever a constitution contains a preamble, it expresses the political, religious and socio-economic values which it envisages to promote.