IAS Target

Bill to amend Preamble

Context:

Rajya Sabha Vice-Chair Harivansh Narayan Singh reserves the right to decide to permit the introduction of legislative legislation to amend the preamble to the Constitution.
The Constitutional (Amendment) Bill was introduced in 2021: Kerala BJP member K.J. Alphonse. The Bill seeks to change the preamble to "Equality of status and of opportunity to be born, to be fed, to be educated, to get a job and to be treated with dignity", which was previously "equality of status and of opportunity".
In addition, the word "socialist" is to be replaced by "equitable". The Bill also proposes to add "access to information technology" and "happiness" as goals.
Four important aspects can be read from the preamble text:
Source of Constitutional Authority: It draws its authority from the Indian people.
The nature of the Indian state: It declares India a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic, republican regime.
The purpose of the Constitution: It aims at justice, freedom, equality and friendship. Date of adoption: November 26, 1949.

The preamble of the Constitution:

  • In the Berubari Union Case, 1960, the Supreme Court found that the preamble was not part of the Constitution.
  • The above opinion was reversed in the 1973 Keshavananda Bharati case. The SC stated that the preamble was part of the Constitution.
  • This opinion was further refined by SC in the case of the LIC (1995).
  • The preamble is part of the Constitution but is neither a source of legislative power nor a ban on legislative power.
  • The provision is unenforceable in court.

Preamble and its Amendments:

  • In the Keshavananda Bharati case, the court ruled that the basic elements or features of the Constitution contained in the preamble could not be changed by amendments under Article 368.
  • The preamble has changed only once. This was the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act of 1976, which added three new terms: socialism, secularity, and integration.