Excerpts from Introduction to “The Preamble” (Universal Publishers 2013) by Dr Deepa Kansra
The ever rising complexities faced by the populace in India have over the years created misgivings about the politicolegal system that has been in place. The lack of stability in interpretation, and the lack of vision in politics has made people look askance about the limitations and dimensions of their constitutional existence. It is no longer suffi cient and viable to look into the formal source of constitutional values, but rather the dilemmas and contestations of their meaning and relevance to the community.
Is fraternity a forgotten ideal? Is socialism outdated? What advantage does republicanism offer? Is secularism politically motivated? Are there any global ethics?
Questions of this genre are multiple and willing to multiply. Very few legal systems are exploring the foundation of their constitutions to educate the young minds about the principles/ideals that affect them day to day. Nevertheless, constitutions over the world are propelling significant reforms and innovations for their respective societies and political systems. What ushers such dynamism is a fundamental question for our generation.
Taking the case of India, the Constitution – “the supreme deed of independent India” is a strong edifice for a functional system of rules, structures and principles. The constitutional philosophy over the years has permitted expansion in the value based thought, rights, opportunities, institutions, and structures. The underlying philosophy to such dynamism is located in the text of the Preamble of the Constitution. It can very safely be gathered that the dynamism is a resultant of the evolving character of the basic tenets like justice, democracy, socialism and secularism.
More recently, a consensus at the global platform has emerged on the role of preambles in constitutional interpretation and adjudication. The Preambles have been found to have “integrative power”, a more “binding force” as a “substantive source of rights” or as a “guide for constitutional interpretation” Each preamble expresses a unique quality in terms of the ideals incorporated therein and the history that has given birth to it.
This book is inspired by the very strength of the Constitutional philosophy, placed in the Preamble to the Constitution of India. The layout of the book is designed to provide the theoretical dimensions/complexities of the ideals in the Preamble. The authors have contributed immensely to put forth a more contemporary and a larger picture of the basic ideals that govern several constitutions like that in India. It is more rightly a Political and Contemporary Reading of the Preamble.
This book makes an attempt at portraying the cultural, political and global realities of constitutional polity like India. The contributors refl ect upon the progress and dynamics of foundational values embodied in the Preamble; sovereignty, socialism, secularism, fraternity, justice, and so on. The aim is to highlight the day to day relevance of the broader principles in the Preamble, the ideological inspiration that they generate, and their commonly attached meanings.
The book is available at Amazon.in: http://www.amazon.in/Preamble-Deepa-Kansra/dp/9350353733/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1399988879&sr=1-3