Philosophy and Features of Indian Constitution, Preamble, Salient Features, Constitutionalism

20/04/2024 2 By indiafreenotes

Indian Constitution, adopted on January 26, 1950, is the supreme law of India. It lays the framework for the political principles, procedures, and powers of government institutions, while also setting fundamental rights, directive principles, and the duties of citizens. It is a living document, central to India’s democracy and constitutional governance, reflecting the country’s diversity and aspirations.

Philosophy of the Indian Constitution

The philosophy of the Indian Constitution integrates both traditional socio-cultural values and modern principles of liberal democracy. It is founded on the ideals of justice, liberty, equality, and fraternity as articulated in the Preamble. These ideals are deeply influenced by the historical struggle for independence and the visions of foundational leaders who aimed to ensure both individual rights and social welfare.

  1. Sovereignty

Sovereignty refers to the absolute independence and self-governance of India as a nation. The Constitution marks the legal transfer of power from the British colonial rulers to the people of India, making India a sovereign entity. This means that India is free to conduct its own affairs (both internal and external) without interference from other states.

  1. Socialism

Socialism in the Indian context, especially after the 42nd amendment in 1976, emphasizes social equity and the reduction of wealth disparities. It is reflected in the commitment to provide a fair distribution of resources among all citizens and to make the state responsible for ensuring welfare measures that address unemployment, poverty, and health care, thus aiming at reducing socio-economic inequalities.

  1. Secularism

Secularism is a foundational aspect of the Indian Constitution, ensuring that all religions within India’s diverse society are given equal respect and that the state itself remains neutral in religious affairs. This is crucial in a country with multiple religions coexisting. The state’s secular nature ensures no discrimination on the ground of religion, thus promoting a harmonious and inclusive society.

  1. Democracy

The Constitution establishes India as a democratic republic, which is crucial in ensuring that the government is elected by the people, for the people, and of the people. Democracy as a philosophy is evident through representative democracy, where citizens have the right to elect their leaders in free and fair elections, and participatory democracy, where apart from elections, the citizens participate in the decision-making process through various mechanisms like public opinion, protests, etc.

  1. Justice, Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity

These principles are explicitly mentioned in the Preamble and form the essence of the Indian Constitution. They outline the aspirations towards:

  • Justice: Social, economic, and political; promised to all individuals.
  • Liberty: Thought, expression, belief, faith, and worship, ensuring freedom for the individual while maintaining social order.
  • Equality: Status and opportunity, which aims to eliminate discrimination on any grounds and ensures equal rights for all citizens.
  • Fraternity: Ensuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the nation. It emphasizes the need for a spirit of brotherhood among all the people of India, transcending religious, linguistic, regional, or sectional diversities.


Preamble of the Constitution serves as a brief introductory statement of the Constitution’s fundamental purposes and guiding principles. It declares India to be a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic, assuring its citizens of justice, equality, and liberty, and endeavors to promote fraternity among them. The Preamble sets the stage for the Constitution and acts as a preamble to the aspirations and values of the new nation.

Salient Features of the Indian Constitution:

  • Lengthy and Written Document:

The Indian Constitution is the longest written constitution of any sovereign nation in the world, detailing procedural frameworks for government policy, rights, and responsibilities.

  • Blend of Rigidity and Flexibility:

While certain sections of the Constitution are amendable with a simple parliamentary majority, others require a two-thirds majority, making it both rigid and flexible.

  • Federal Structure with Unitary Features:

It establishes a federal structure with clear division of powers between the central and state governments. However, during times of emergency, it can be as unitary as any unitary government in function.

  • Parliamentary Form of Government:

It adopts the British Westminster model of parliamentary government, where the majority party in the lower house of Parliament forms the government, and the executive is responsible to the legislature.

  • Secular State:

The Constitution provides for a secular state with no state religion. It encourages equality and tolerance among all religions.

  • Integrated Judicial System:

Unlike the federal judicial structure in places like the United States, India has an integrated judiciary with the Supreme Court at the top, followed by High Courts and other subordinate courts.

  • Directive Principles of State Policy:

These are guidelines for the framing of laws by the government. These principles are considered fundamental in the governance of the country, aimed at establishing a just society.

  • Fundamental Rights and Duties:

The Constitution lists the fundamental rights available to the citizens of India, such as the right to equality, freedom, and against exploitation, and also prescribes fundamental duties.


Constitutionalism in India signifies the authority of the Constitution in the governance of the country. It ensures the limitation of government powers, adherence to the rule of law, and guarantees that all actions of the government are sanctioned by law and within the limits of the Constitution. It emphasizes the balance between government power and individual rights, and the importance of a constitutionally mandated structure to check power and prevent its abuse.