Indian Polity – Preamble & Constitution

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Preamble and Citizenship

Preamble of Indian Constitution
The preamble to the Constitution of India is a brief introductory statement that sets out the guiding purpose, principles and philosophy of the constitution.

Preamble gives idea about the following:

(1) the source of the constitution,

(2) nature of Indian state

(3) a statement of its objectives and

(4) the date of its adoption.

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;

We the people of India.
The phrase “We the people of India” emphasizes that the constitution is made by and for the Indian people and not given to them by any outside power. It also emphasizes the concept of popular sovereignty as laid down by Rousseau: All the power emanates from the people and the political system will be accountable and responsible to the people.
Nature of Indian state

1. Sovereign: India is internally and externally sovereign – externally free from the control of any foreign power and internally, it has a free government which is directly elected by the people and makes laws that govern the people. No external power can dictate the government of India.
2. Socialist: “Socialism” as an economic philosophy where means of production and distribution are owned by the State. India adopted Mixed Economy, where apart from state, there will be private production too. Socialism as a social philosophy stresses more on the societal equality.
3. Secular: Features of secularism as envisaged in the Preamble is to mean that the state will have no religion of its own and all persons will be equally entitled to the freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practice and propagate the religion of their choice. (S R Bommai and Others v Union of India, AIR 1994 SC 1918)
4. Democratic: Indicates that the Constitution has established a form of Government which gets its authority from the will of the people. The rulers are elected by the people and are responsible to them.
5. Republic: As opposed to a monarchy, in which the head of state is appointed on hereditary basis for a lifetime or until he abdicates from the throne, a democratic republic is an entity in which the head of state is elected, directly or indirectly, for a fixed tenure. The President of India is elected by an electoral college for a term of five years. The post of the President of India is not hereditary. Every citizen of India is eligible to become the President of the country.

Objectives of Indian State  :

1. Justice: Social, Economic and Political.
2. Equality: of status and opportunity.
3. Liberty : of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship
4. Fraternity (=Brotherhood): assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the nation.

Date of its adoption :
Date of adoption of the Constitution is 26th November, 1949. But most of the articles in Constitution came into force on January 26th, 1950. Those articles which came into existence on 26th November 1949 is given by Article 394.
Article 394 states that this article (394) and articles 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 60, 324, 366, 367, 379, 380, 388, 391, 392 and 393 shall come into force at once, and the remaining provisions of this Constitution shall come into force on the twenty-sixth day of January, 1950, which day is referred to in this Constitution as the commencement of this Constitution.
26 January was selected for this purpose because it was this day in 1930 when the Declaration of Indian Independence (Purna Swaraj) was proclaimed by the Indian National Congress.
Citizenship in India & Indian citizenship acts

Fundamental Rights provided in Indian constitution are available to citizens of India only; some of the fundamental rights which are not enjoyed by a non-citizen of India are:
1. Right to be discriminated on the basis of religion, race, sex, cast or birth of place
2. Equal opportunities in public employment
3. Right of six democratic freedoms (Article 19) + Cultural & educational rights

Only citizens of India have the right to:
1. To hold civil an office
2. Right to vote and
3. Right to be judges of courts

Indian citizenship act, 1955
1. Indian constitution provides single citizenship to all irrespective of the states a person belongs to
2. Constitution simply describes classes of people deemed to be citizens of India as on 26th Jan 1950 & leaves entire law of citizenship to be regulated by parliamentary laws

The Parliament has enacted Indian citizenship act, 1955 for acquisition & loss of Indian citizenship. Since its commencement it has been amended four times:
1. The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 1986.
2. The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 1992.
3. The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2003.
4. The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2005.

According to Indian citizenship act, 1955, Indian citizenship was extended to citizens of commonwealth countries but this law was repealed by amendment in 2003

Acquisition of Indian Citizenship as per Citizenship act, 1955

Citizenship by birth:
Every person who is born in India on or after January 26, 1950, shall be a citizen of India by birth.

Citizenship by descent:
A person born outside India on or after January 26, 1950, shall be a citizen of India by descent if either of his parents is a citizen of India at the time of the person’s birth.

Citizenship by registration:
A person can acquire Indian citizenship by registering themselves before the prescribed authority, e.g. persons of Indian origin who are ordinarily resident in India and have been so for five years immediately before making the application for registration; persons who are married to citizens of India.

Citizenship by naturalization:
naturalization which is a Legal process by which a citizen of one country becomes a citizen of another, a foreigner can acquire Indian citizenship, on application for naturalization to the Government of India.

Citizenship by Incorporation of territory: If any new territory becomes a part of India, the Government of India shall specify the persons of that territory as citizens of India.

Termination of Indian Citizenship

1. Renunciation by Voluntary Act.
2. After acquiring the citizenship of another country.
3. Deprivation of citizenship by an order of the Government of India.

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