NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday asked if the Preamble could be amended while keeping the date intact, dealing with a plea by former Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy for deletion of words from “socialist” and “secular” from it.
A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta orally observed that it is not that Preamble cannot be amended.
Academically considering, the bench pointed out, the Preamble was earlier amended by the 42nd Amendment Act in 1976 to include the words 'socialist' and 'secular' while keeping the date of adoption, November 29, 1949, intact.
With the observations, Swamy and other counsel said that is precisely the point.
Referring to the Preamble to the Constitution, the bench said that this is perhaps the only Preamble, which comes with a date.
The court was informed that originally these two words 'socialist' and 'secular' were not there.
A counsel contended that this Preamble came with a specific date. Swamy said that the Amendment Act was passed during Emergency (1975-77).
The court posted the matter for further hearing in April.
Advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain represented Balram Singh and others.
The plea questioned insertion of words "socialist" and "secular" in the Preamble to the Constitution by the 42nd constitution amendment of 1976 during the tenure of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
The petitioners claimed that such insertion was beyond the amending power of the Parliament under Article 368 and the framers of the Constitution never intended to introduce 'socialist' or 'secular' concepts in democratic governance.