SC Adjourns PIL Seeking Removal of 'Socialist' & 'Secular' from Preamble

SC Adjourns PIL Seeking Removal of 'Socialist' & 'Secular' from Preamble

The Supreme Court adjourned a Public Interest Litigation filed by former Rajya Sabha MP Dr. Subramanian Swamy today (on July 10). The PIL seeks the deletion of the words "Socialist" and "Secular" from the Preamble to the Constitution of India, with the next hearing scheduled for August.

During the proceedings, Justice Sanjiv Khanna noted that concerning the word "Secular," the Supreme Court has established through numerous judgments that it constitutes a fundamental pillar of our Constitution's basic structure.

“As far as 'socialist' is concerned, probably we have given our own definition to the term 'socialist'. We have not gone by a proper dictionary definition.,” he added.

Given that there are three petitions addressing the same issue, and in light of a request for accommodation by the petitioner's counsel in one of these pleas, the Court has directed that the matter be re-listed during the week starting August 12.

Previously, the Court had asked counsels to academically consider whether the Preamble could have been amended earlier, specifically through the 42nd Amendment Act in 1976, to include the words "Socialist" and "Secular" while maintaining the original adoption date of November 29, 1949.

The current petition challenges the validity of inserting the words "socialist" and "secular" into the Preamble of the Indian Constitution through the 42nd Constitution Amendment Act of 1976, during the tenure of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. It argues that such an insertion exceeded the amending powers of Parliament as defined under Article 368.

The petitioners assert that the framers of the Constitution did not intend to introduce socialist or secular concepts into democratic governance. They further argue that Dr. B.R. Ambedkar opposed the inclusion of these words, as the Constitution should not impose specific political ideologies on citizens, thereby infringing upon their right to choose.

Rajya Sabha MP Binoy Viswam of the Communist Party of India has filed an intervention in the matter, opposing the petition. He argues that Secularism and Socialism are inherent features of the Indian Constitution, and therefore, the inclusion of these words in the Preamble did not fundamentally change the nature of the Constitution.

Case Title : Dr. Subramanian Swamy and Anr. v. Union of India and Anr., WP(C) 1467/2020 (and connected case)

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