Assignment on The US Constitution adopted in 1787

The US Constitution adopted in 1787 for the first time contained a preamble and thenceforth most of the new countries with written constitution are adopting a preamble to their constitutions.Generally preamble is an introductory paragraph or part in a statue or other document setting forth the grounds and intentions of it. Not only a Constitution but also most of the statutes contain a preamble. The preamble to an Act contains in a nutshell its ideals and aspirations; in other words, it sets out the main objectives which legislation is intended to achieve. It is a key to the intention of the maker of the Act.

Likewise the preamble to a Constitution is a philosophy because it contains those ideals and principles on the basis of which the whole structure of the Constitution is erected. But though in case of ordinary statutes much importance is not always attached to the preamble, extreme importance is always attached to a preamble in a constitutional statute. The preamble to a Constitution serves the following three main purposes:

i) It indicates the source of the Constitution i.e. the legal and moral basis of the Constitution.
ii) It expresses in a nutshell the ideas and aspirations of the objectives of the Constitution.
iii) It works as the guiding star for the interpretation of the Constitution.

Preamble and the Operative Part of the Constitution
Sometimes it is argued that the preamble is not included in the operative part of the Constitution. It is not an integral part of the constitution in the following senses.
Firstly, if it were dropped from the constitution, the operative part of the Constitution would, in no way, be hampered.
Secondly, it is not necessary that every statute or Constitution should begin with a preamble. The Government of India Act, 1935 though it was the second Constitution of the British India, had no preamble.


Thirdly, the preamble of a Constitution is neither regarded as the source of any substantive governmental power nor does it by itself import any limitations on the exercise of powers not expressly or impliedly prohibited by the Constitution.

It was opined by the Supreme Court of USA that a preamble is not an operative part of the Constitution. It indicates only the general purposes for which the people ordained and established the constitution. It has never been regarded as the source of any substantive power conferred on the government of the USA or any of its departments. Similarly, the Supreme Court in India has laid down in some cases that the preamble is not an operative part of the Constitution and hence it can never be a source of power. It has limited application and can be resorted to where there is any ambiguity or where the object or meaning of any enactment is not clear. Where the enabling part i.e. the operative part of the Constitution is explicit and unambiguous, the preamble cannot be resorted to, to control, qualify or restrict. In other words, where the language or provisions of the operative part are clear, full effect should be given to the operative part, even though those provisions appear to contradict the terms of the preamble.3 Also in Powelt V. Kempton Park Race Course Co. Lord Halsbury L.C. said-"Two propositions are quite clear : one that a preamble may afford useful light as to what the statute intends to reach ; and another, that if an enactment is itself clear and unambiguous, no preamble can qualify or cut down the enactment.
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