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 of our Constitution emphasizes the ultimate sovereignty of the people and that the Constitution itself is founded on the authority of the people. India is a sovereign country because it does not act under the dictation of any foreign country. It is absolutely independent in its internal affairs, external relations and all transactions. In short, it is absolute within its own sphere.
India is a Democratic Republic. It has been argued that the word “Democratic” used before the word “Republic” is redundant and superfluous. But it is not so because Democracy does not necessarily establish the Republican form of Government. Though Britain, where there is a Hereditary Monarchy, is a Democracy, it is not a republic. But India, where the President who is the Constitutional head, is elected by the representatives of the people for a period of five years is a Republic.
The words SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST/SECULAR have been introduced by 42nd Amendment which came into force on 18th December 1976. It must be noted that the people of India give the Constitution of India to themselves.
Our Constitution has been divided into 24 parts. The first part deals with the Union and its Territories. The first Articles says, India, that is, Bharat, shall be a Union of States. Nowhere in our Constitution, we find the word Federation. It is generally said that our Constitution is quasi-federal in nature designed to work as a federation in normal times and as an Unitary State in emergency. But the best and correct interpretation in ‘Union of States’. There are 28 States and 7 Union Territories. The 69th Amendment of 1991 states that Delhi should continue to be a Union Territory known as National Capital Territory and be provided with a Legislative Assembly (70 seats) and a Council of Ministers (7 ministers). National Capital Territory of Delhi and the Union Territory of Pondicherry though administered by the President through a Lt. Governor he is advised by a Council of Ministers, responsible to the Legislative Assembly headed by the Chief Minister. He carries on the administration directly. The Legislative Assembly of Pondicherry form part of electoral college in electing the President.
The salient features of our Constitution are: Sovereignty of the people, Adult franchise, abolition of Princely states, Supreme Court in place of Privy Council, abolition of Untouchability, abolition of titles, equality, Secular ‘Socialist’ Republic and making certain important provisions of the Constitution rigid while retaining the flexibility of the constitution itself.