On December 13, 1946, Jawaharlal Nehru moved the historic ‘Objectives Resolution’ in the Assembly. It laid down the fundamentals and philosophy of the constitutional structure. It read:
1. “This Constituent Assembly declares its firm and solemn resolve to proclaim India as an Independent Sovereign Republic and to draw up for her future governance a Constitution:
2. 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 India and the States as well as other territories as are willing to be constituted into the independent sovereign India, shall be a Union of them all; and
3. wherein the said territories, whether with their present boundaries or with such others as maybe 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
4. wherein all power and authority of the Sovereign Independent India, its constituent parts and organs of Government are derived from the people; and
5. wherein shall be guaranteed and secured 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
6. wherein adequate safeguards shall be provided for minorities, backward and tribal areas, and depressed and other backward classes; and
7. 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 civilized nations; and
8. This ancient land attains its rightful and honoured place in the world and makes its full and willing contribution to the promotion of world peace and the welfare of mankind.”
This Resolution was unanimously adopted by the Assembly on January 22, 1947. It influenced the eventual shaping of the constitution through all its subsequent stages. Its modified version forms the Preamble of the present Constitution.
The Objectives Resolution, adopted by the Indian Constituent Assembly on January 22, 1947, marked a significant milestone in the making of the Indian Constitution. Crafted by Jawaharlal Nehru, it outlined the guiding principles and objectives that would shape the foundation of the newly independent nation. This article explores the features of the Objectives Resolution and its profound impact on the making of the Indian Constitution.
Features of the Objectives Resolution
- Sovereign Democratic Republic: The Objectives Resolution declared India’s aspiration to be a sovereign, democratic, and republican state. It affirmed the commitment to establish a government that would be accountable to the people, thereby laying the groundwork for a democratic framework.
- Fundamental Rights: The resolution guaranteed fundamental rights to the citizens of India, including equality, freedom of speech and expression, religious freedom, and protection from discrimination. These rights formed the cornerstone of individual liberties and ensured the protection of citizens’ rights and freedoms.
- Social Justice: The Objectives Resolution emphasized the need for social justice and equality, particularly in the context of removing social and economic disparities. It highlighted the importance of uplifting marginalized sections of society, eradicating discrimination based on caste, religion, and gender, and creating a society based on fairness and equal opportunities.
- Economic Development: The resolution recognized the importance of economic development for the welfare of the people. It aimed to promote economic growth, equitable distribution of resources, and the eradication of poverty. The resolution laid the foundation for a mixed economy, with a focus on planned development, industrialization, and social welfare.
- International Peace and Cooperation: The Objectives Resolution highlighted India’s commitment to promoting international peace and cooperation. It emphasized the need for maintaining friendly relations with other nations, fostering global cooperation, and supporting the principles of the United Nations.
Impact on the Making of the Constitution
- Guiding Principles: The Objectives Resolution provided the Constituent Assembly with a clear set of guiding principles and objectives. It set the tone for the drafting process, ensuring that the constitution would reflect the values of democracy, social justice, and fundamental rights. The resolution served as a compass, steering the assembly’s discussions and debates towards achieving these objectives.
- Framework for Constitutional Provisions: The features outlined in the Objectives Resolution laid the groundwork for key provisions in the Indian Constitution. The fundamental rights enshrined in the resolution became an integral part of the Constitution’s Bill of Rights. The principles of social justice influenced provisions related to reservations, affirmative action, and protective measures for disadvantaged groups.
- Welfare State and Economic Development: The emphasis on economic development and social welfare in the resolution shaped the constitution’s provisions related to economic policies, state intervention, and the promotion of social welfare programs. It laid the foundation for the concept of a welfare state, with provisions aimed at reducing poverty, ensuring equitable distribution of resources, and uplifting the marginalized.
- International Relations and Peaceful Coexistence: The Objectives Resolution’s focus on international peace and cooperation influenced the constitution’s provisions regarding foreign policy, international relations, and India’s role in the global community. It guided the nation towards a path of non-alignment, promoting peaceful coexistence and support for international peace initiatives.
The Objectives Resolution adopted by the Indian Constituent Assembly was a visionary document that shaped the ideals and objectives of the Indian Constitution. It encapsulated the aspirations of a newly independent nation, laying the foundation for a democratic, inclusive, and progressive society. The features outlined in the resolution guided the Constituent Assembly in formulating key provisions of the constitution, ensuring that it reflected the principles of social justice, fundamental rights, and economic development. The Objectives Resolution continues to be a guiding light, reminding us of the visionary leadership that crafted the Indian Constitution.