The Supreme Court on February 9 adjourned the petition filed by BJP leader Subramaniam Swamy seeking to delete the words ‘secular’ and ‘socialist’ from the Preamble of the Indian Constitution.
A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Dutta posted the matter in the week commencing from April 29.
Subramaniam Swamy, in his petition, had said that the two words, inserted in the Preamble through the 42nd Constitution Amendment Act of 1976 during the Emergency, violated the basic structure doctrine enunciated in the famous Kesavananda Bharati judgment by the 13-judge bench in 1973, by which Parliament’s power to amend the Constitution was barred from tinkering with the basic features of the Constitution.
“The framers of the Constitution had specifically rejected the inclusion of these two words in the Constitution and alleged that these two words were thrust upon the citizens even when the framers never had intended to introduce socialist and secular concepts in democratic governance,” Subramaniam Swamy had contended.
It is argued that such insertion was beyond the amending power of the Parliament under Article 368.
It was further stated that Dr BR Ambedkar had rejected the incorporation of these words as the Constitution cannot thrust upon the citizens certain political ideologies by taking away their right to choose.
Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament and the Communist Party of India leader Binoy Viswam had also approached the Supreme Court opposing Subramaniam Swamy’s plea, saying that ‘secularism and socialism’ are inherent and basic features of the Constitution.
“It is the intent of the plea filed by Swamy to have a free rein on Indian polity leaving behind secularism and socialism,” Viswam had said.
“Swamy’s petition is an absolute abuse of the process of law and is devoid of merit and deserves to be dismissed with exemplary costs as it challenges the 42nd Amendment to the Constitution of India,” the application of Viswam had stated.
The CPI MP in his impleadment application had said the real purpose behind the PIL is to allow political parties to seek votes in the name of religion.
“The 42nd amendment is challenged by the petitioner as an eyewash to succeed in striking down sub-section 5 of section 29(A) of the Representation of People’s Act, 1951,” the application had stated.
The section mandates the political parties seeking registration with the Election Commission to abide by the Constitution and its principles of “secularism, socialism and democracy”.
Another plea was also filed in the apex court seeking the deletion of ‘secularism and socialism’ from the Preamble by lawyers Balram Singh and Karunesh Kumar Shukla.
(with inputs from ANI)