The Constitution of India provides for regular amendments and therefore is flexible in nature. However, certain basic features governing and significant to the soul of the Constitution cannot be altered.
Through the historical judgement given in the Keshavanand Bharathi VS State of Kerala (1973), the 76th Amendment Act was passed, according to which the Supreme Court held that Preamble is a part of the Constitution and under Article 368, its basic features cannot be amended.
The words democratic, secular, socialist, sovereign and republic define the Constitution. They are part of the basic structure doctrine and under no circumstance can any law go against these values.
Democracy refers to a government by the people, secularism means that the state has no religion of its own but respects all religions, sovereign refers to India being independent and under no foreign body or nation, socialist and republic refer to the power that resides with the people.
Although the words socialist, secular and integrity were incorporated through the 42nd Amendment in 1976, they form an important part of the basic structure.
Fundamental rights in the form of liberty, equality and justice are guaranteed to all persons and denial of these rights without reasonable restrictions can be condemned. In the St. Xavier’s College VS State of Gujarat, the court had held that the state has no religion of its own thus reinforcing its position on secularism.
Unity and Integrity also comprise the basic structure and therefore the country doesn’t encourage the formulation of laws that are detrimental to these features.
Fraternity, a concept borrowed from the French constitution, invokes feelings of brotherhood and to live together in peace, this virtue is essential in a multicultural country like India.