Constitution Day: UP legislature’s special session witnesses debate on Preamble, Fundamental Duties

Published on Nov 27, 2019 07:39 PM IST
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By, Lucknow

The state legislature witnessed a debate on the Constitution of India’s Preamble and the Fundamental Duties as enshrined therein at the special session convened here on November 26.

Governor Anandiben Patel addressed a joint sitting of two houses of the state legislature to mark the Constitution Day

As a decision to boycott the October 2 special session had made some opposition rebel MLAs defy their respective party’s whip to take part in the debate, major opposition parties, barring the Congress, joined the proceedings this time.

Leaders of all the parties had turned up at the all-party meeting that Speaker Hriday Narayan Dikshit had convened recently to seek their cooperation for smooth conduct of the proceedings.

“The Constitution of India empowers all the institutions — the legislature, executive and the judiciary. Our basic objective is to make people aware of the Constitution. The Constitution was adopted on November 26, 1949. Earlier, National Law Day was celebrated on November 26. Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015 declared that the day will be celebrated as Constitution Day,” said Dikshit.

The Preamble provides a clear vision about the understanding and philosophy of the Constitution. It proclaims India to be “Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic.” The Preamble is based on the resolution on Aims and Objectives that India’s first Prime Minister the late Jawaharlal Nehru had moved in the Constituent Assembly on December 13, 1946. The issue of adding ‘Secular’ to the Preamble had come up when the Constitution was being adopted. It was, however, added only through the 42nd Amendment by the then Prime Minister the late Indira Gandhi. The other two words added to the Preamble through the same amendment to the Preamble were ‘Socialist’ and ‘Integrity’.

A controversy had erupted in 2015 when ‘Secular’ and Socialist’ were found missing from the Centre’s Republic Day advertisements. It was clarified that the picture of the first Republic Day was used in the advertisement.

Fundamental Duties of the citizens are mentioned in Article 51A of the Indian Constitution by the 42nd Amendment to the Constitution adopted in 1976.

The speaker administered an oath on the Fundamental Duties to members on the occasion.

Besides, the special session of the state legislature, Constitution Day celebrations on November 26 marked the beginning of a national campaign to create awareness among people about the Fundamental Duties. The campaign will culminate on Baba Saheb Bhimrao Ambedkar’s birth anniversary on April 14, 2020.

Union cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba had requested all the chief secretaries to make necessary preparations and have close coordination with the department of justice to ensure that the campaign was rolled out in an effective and timely manner. “This year, the country is celebrating the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution. To commemorate this very important event in the life of Indian democracy, the government of India proposes to launch a national campaign focusing on creating awareness regarding a very feature of the constitution — the Fundamental Duties. The campaign would start on November 26, 2019 and culminate on April 14, 2020 Babasaheb Ambedkar’s birth anniversary which is celebrated as Samrasta Divas. By reaffirming our commitment to the fundamental duties, it is felt that all citizens can play a positive and effective role fulfilling our duties towards our country and fellow citizens,” said Gauba in his letter sent to all the chief secretaries last month.

Dr BR Ambedkar, who was chairman of the drafting committee, worked to formulate the Constitution and presented the final draft of the Constitution of India to President of the Constituent Assembly Dr Rajendra Prasada on November 25, 1949. The Constituent Assembly had taken almost three years (two years, eleven months and seventeen days to be precise) to complete drafting of the Constitution of India. It held eleven sessions covering a total of 165 days. Of these, 114 days were spent on the consideration of the Draft Constitution.


The Constituent Assembly had met for the first time on December 9, 1946. India’s first Prime Minister late Jawaharlal Nehru had moved his resolution on Aims and Objectives in the Constituent Assembly on December 13, 1946.

“For a long time, we have been having various plans for a free India in our minds, but now, when we are beginning the actual work, I hope, you will be at one with me when I say that we should present a clear picture of this plan to ourselves, to the people of India and to the world at large. The Resolution that I am placing before you defines our aims, describes an outline of the plan and points the way which are going to tread,” said Nehru.

“You all know that this constituent assembly is not what many of us wished it to be. It has come into being under particular conditions and the British government has a hand in its birth. They have attached to it certain conditions. We accepted the State Paper, which may be called the foundation of this assembly, after serious deliberations and we shall endeavour to work within its limits. But you must not ignore the source from which this assembly derives its strength. Governments do not come into being by State Papers. Governments are, in fact, the expression of the will of the people. We have met here today because of the strength of the people behind us and we shall go as far as the people — not of any party or group but the people as a whole — shall wish us to go. We should, therefore, always keep in mind the passions that lie in the hearts of the masses of Indian people and try to fulfil them,” said Nehru.

“I hope the House will pass the Resolution which is of a special nature. It is an undertaking with ourselves and with the millions of our brothers and sisters who live in this great country. If it is passed, it will be a sort of pledge that we shall have to carry out. With this expectation and in this form, I place it before you. You have copies of it in Hindustani with you. I will, therefore, not take more of your time to read it one way, or, I will, however, read it in English and speak further on it in that language.”

I beg to move:

This Constituent assembly declares its firm and solemn resolve to proclaim India has an Independent Sovereign Republic and to draw up for her future governance a Constitution;

Wherein the territories that now comprise British India, the territories that now form the Indian states, and such other parts of India as are outside British India and the States as well as such other territories are willing to be constituted into the Independent Sovereign India, shall be a union of them all;

Wherein the said territories, whether with their present boundaries or with such orders as may be determined by the Constituent Assembly and thereafter according to the Law of the Constitution, shall possess and retain the status of autonomous units, together with residuary powers, and exercise all powers and functions of government and administration, save and except such powers and functions as are vested in or assigned to the Union, or as are inherent or implied in the Union or resulting therefrom; and

Wherein all powers and authority of the Sovereign Independent India, its constituent parts and organs of government, are derived from the people; and

Wherein shall be guaranteed and secure to all the people of India justice, social, economic and political; equality of status, of opportunity, and before the law; freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith, worship, vocation, association and action, subject to law and public morality; and

Wherein adequate safeguards shall be provided for minorities, backward and tribal areas, and depressed and other backward classes; and

Whereby shall be maintained the integrity of the territory of the Republic and its sovereign rights on land, sea and air according to justice and the law of civilised nations, and

This ancient land attains its rightful and honoured place in the world and make its full and willing contribution to the promotion of world peace and the welfare of mankind.”

Purushottam Das Tandon, while seconding the resolution, said: “I fully support the resolution moved by my brother Pt Jawahar Lal Nehru. Today’s session of the Constituent Assembly is an historical occasion. After centuries, such a meeting has once more been convened in our country. It recalls to our mind our glorious past when we were free and when assemblies were held at which the Pandits met to discuss important affairs of the country. It reminds us of the Age of Asoka. We have dim impressions of those days before our eyes. We are also reminded of assemblies of other countries such as, America, France and Russia. Our Constituent Assembly will be remembered with those others which met to frame the constitutions of other free nations. We have met here to frame a constitution which will show to the world that India is determined to live honourably not in isolation but as a part of the world. It will cooperate with other countries and help them in their difficulties and assist them in all those affairs which make for the general progress of the world. We hope that what we are doing today will be historic event which will be counted those great events which have helped in the progress of the world.”


Fundamental Duties of the citizens of India are mentioned in Article 51A of the Indian Constitution.

Following are the Fundamental Duties under the Constitution of India which is given in Part IV-A of the Constitution of India which was inserted by the (42nd Amendment) Act, 1976.

It shall be the duty of every citizen of India-

a) to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem;

b) to cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom;

c) to uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India;

d) to defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so;

e) to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities; to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women;

f) to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture;

g) to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life, and to have compassion for living creatures;

h) to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform;

i) to safeguard public property and to abjure violence;

j) to strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity so that the nation constantly rises to higher levels of endeavour and achievement.]

[(k) who is a parent or guardian to provide opportunities for education to his child or, as the case may be, ward between the age of six and fourteen years.]


    Umesh Raghuvanshi is a journalist with over three decade experience. He covers politics, finance, environment and social issues. He has covered all assembly and parliament elections in Uttar Pradesh since 1984.

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