38.6c New Delhi, India, Friday, May 24, 2024
Know The Law

Are "Socialist" and "Secular" words in Preamble unconstitutional?

By LAWSTREET NEWS NETWORK      18 October, 2023 05:53 PM      0 Comments
Are Socialist and Secular words in Preamble unconstitutional

Recently, some of the Members of the Lok Sabha have claimed that the words “Socialist” and “Secular” were omitted in the New Copies of the Preamble of the Constitution of India. This has erupted a fresh row over the two words and their presence in the Constitution of India. Lok Sabha leader of Opposition Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury claimed that new copies of India's Constitution omit the words ‘socialist and secular’.

“The new copies of the Constitution that were given to us today (19th September), the one we held in our hands and entered (the new Parliament building), its Preamble doesn't have the words 'socialist secular'. We know that the words were added after an amendment in 1976 but if someone gives us the Constitution today and it doesn't have those words, it is a matter of concern", Chowdhury told news agency ANI.

However, The BJP government has justified its actions saying that the original copies of the Constitution, which didn’t contain the two words, were given to the parliamentarians.

History and debates about ‘socialist’ and ‘secular’ in the Preamble 

Now, to understand the rift we have to go back to the 1950. Surprisingly, the two words (“Socialist” and “Secular”) in question were originally not a part of the Preamble.

They were added by The Constitution (42nd Amendment) Act, 1976 during the Emergency imposed by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

The description of India was then changed from “sovereign democratic republic” to “sovereign socialist secular democratic republic”. The term Socialist means the achievement of socialist ends through democratic means. It holds faith in a mixed economy where both private and public sectors co-exist side by side.


The word Secular has its roots in ancient Greece, which is defined as “not connected with religious or spiritual matters”. As per the Western model of secularism, the “State” or King and the “religion” or Church have their own separate spheres and neither the state nor the religion shall intervene in each other’s affairs. However, Indian secularism allows for principled state intervention in all religions.

Highlighting this concept critics have raised the establishment of the Waqf Board and Muslim personal law, calling it a constitutional bias and how it is dangerous for the country.

Some critics express concerns that the words "socialist" and "secular" might be misinterpreted or misused. The fun fact is that when the daughter was adamant about bringing Secular words in the preamble, the father was against it.

Ironically though, it was Nehru along with the chairman of the drafting committee of the constitution, BR Ambedkar, who were also most opposed to the idea of including the word ‘secular’ in the preamble of the constitution.

In 2008, the Supreme Court rejected a plea demanding the removal of “socialist”. A three-judge Bench headed by then Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan said, “Why do you take socialism in a narrow sense defined by Communists? In a broader sense, it means welfare measures for the citizens. It is a facet of democracy.”

However, critics pointed out the foreign origins of the words, “socialist” and “secular”, the inapplicability of it in the Indian context, and the problematic ways in which it has been applied in India as well. According to historian Ronald Inden in his work, “Imagining India,” said, “Independent government implemented secularism mostly by refusing to recognize the religious pasts of Indian nationalism, whether Hindu or Muslim and at the same time (inconsistently) by retaining Muslim ‘personal law’.

In a petition filed by former BJP MP Subramanian Swamy in the Supreme Court for the removal of the words. Similar petitions have been filed earlier too. Petitioners have argued about the inclusion of these terms in the Constitution, and how such inclusions surpassed the amending power of the Parliament under Article 368.

Earlier in 2015, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had used an image of the Preamble of the Indian Constitution without the words “socialist” and “secular”, which led to criticism.

In 2020, BJP MP Rakesh Sinha moved a resolution in Rajya Sabha seeking to remove the word socialism from the Preamble.


In an interview with Law Street Journal, Senior Advocate Prashant Bhushan also acknowledged that there is no denying that the words “Socialist” and “Secular” were written in the Preamble unconstitutionally in 1976 and the question over the validity of the words in the Preamble stands right. These words were added to the Indian Constitution through 42nd Amendment Act in the most undemocratic way after having jailed most opposition members under draconian acts, and suspension of fundamental rights in 1976.


Those advocating for the removal argue that the words "socialist" and "secular" were inserted during the Emergency in 1976, which never got the nod of Parliament. This raises the question regarding the validity of the inclusion of these words. So, what is our real preamble? The one that never got passed in Parliament? Or the one which was introduced in the Constituent Assembly, discussed, and adopted in 1950?



Share this article:

About:

Explore Comprehensive Legal Reporting with LawStreet Journal: Your Go-To Source for Supreme Court an...Read more

Follow:
TwitterLinkedinInstagram


Leave a feedback about this
Related Posts
View All

Stop Dividing India On Minority-Majority Basis: BJP LEADER ASHWINI UPADHYAY Stop Dividing India On Minority-Majority Basis: BJP LEADER ASHWINI UPADHYAY

The Constitution of India is by the Indians and for the Indians. Globally, there are 6000 plus languages. Can we consider a Chinese or French-speaking person a linguistic minority? If yes, then India would end up having 60+ linguistic minorities. Linguistic minorities may be identified at the district level, and only Indian languages may be considered for protection under Articles 29-30, i.e. a Hindi speaking person is a linguistic minority in Kerala and Tamil speaking in Bihar. The same notion may follow for religious minorities too, and only India originated religions may be considered a religious minority

Former MP Chintamani Malviya Challenges Places of Worship Act Before Supreme Court Former MP Chintamani Malviya Challenges Places of Worship Act Before Supreme Court

The plea further alleges that the Places of Worship Act blatantly offends the right of Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, and Sikhs to restore, manage, maintain and administer the 'places of worship and pilgrimage' guaranteed under Article 26 of the Indian Constitution

Only Central Govt empowered to undertake census, Centre tells Supreme Court [Read Affidavit] Only Central Govt empowered to undertake census, Centre tells Supreme Court [Read Affidavit]

The Centre's statement on its exclusive authority to conduct the census in India, amidst calls for caste-based census, raises significance. Opposition parties' demands and implications on welfare measures for SC/ST and OBCs are explored in a case before the Supreme Court.

Lead petitioner in Art 370 matter raised Pakistan Zindabad' slogan, supported terrorism, secessionism in J&K, SC told Lead petitioner in Art 370 matter raised Pakistan Zindabad' slogan, supported terrorism, secessionism in J&K, SC told

The lead petitioner challenging the abrogation of Article 370 faces allegations of supporting secessionism, raising pro-Pakistan slogans, and promoting terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir. The Supreme Court is examining these claims and considering the petitioner's response.

TRENDING NEWS

no-legal-mandate-for-uploading-of-form-17c-on-website-or-handing-over-to-anyone-other-than-candidate-or-agent-ec-tells-sc
Trending Judiciary
No legal mandate for uploading of Form 17C on website or handing over to anyone other than candidate or agent, EC tells SC

EC tells SC there's no legal mandate to upload Form 17C on websites or provide it to anyone other than candidates or agents, citing risks of misuse and mistrust.

23 May, 2024 11:28 AM
national-security-always-paramount-sc-cancels-bail-of-pfi-members
Trending Judiciary
'National security always paramount,' SC cancels bail of PFI members [Read Judgment]

SC emphasizes national security, cancels bail of eight PFI members, stressing balance between civil liberties and counter-terrorism under UAPA.

23 May, 2024 12:05 PM

TOP STORIES

sc-notice-to-ec-on-plea-by-adr-for-release-of-voters-turnout-data
Trending Judiciary
SC notice to EC on plea by ADR for release of voters turnout data

SC issues notice to EC on ADR plea to release voter turnout data. SC demands EC to disclose vote counts within 48 hours after each phase of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

18 May, 2024 11:16 AM
recovered-direct-chats-between-kejriwal-and-hawala-operators-on-transfer-of-money-ed-claims-before-sc
Trending Judiciary
Recovered direct chats between Kejriwal and hawala operators on transfer of money, ED claims before SC

ED claims to have recovered direct chats between Kejriwal and hawala operators on money transfer in Delhi liquor policy scam; SC reserves judgement on arrest appeal.

18 May, 2024 11:47 AM
delhi-hc-refuses-jackie-shroff-interim-relief-against-youtuber-unfilteredthugesh-for-alleged-personality-rights-infringement
Trending CelebStreet
Delhi HC refuses Jackie Shroff interim relief against Youtuber 'UnfilteredThugesh' for using "Thug Life" in video on Shroff

The Delhi High Court has refused Jackie Shroff interim relief against Youtuber 'UnfilteredThugesh' for alleged personality rights' infringement.

18 May, 2024 05:20 PM
abuse-under-sc-st-act-has-to-be-in-public-view-to-make-out-offence-sc
Trending Judiciary
Abuse under SC/ST Act has to be in public view to make out offence: SC [Read Judgment]

SC rules abuse under SC/ST Act must be in public view. Case involves Olympic Riding and Equestrian Academy, highlighting key requirements for the offence.

18 May, 2024 05:45 PM

ADVERTISEMENT


Join Group

Signup for Our Newsletter

Get Exclusive access to members only content by email