New Delhi: BJP Rajya Sabha MP Rakesh Sinha is set to move a resolution in the house on Friday seeking the removal of “socialism” from the preamble of the Constitution.
Sinha says that the word is “redundant” in the current scenario and should be dropped to create space for “economic thinking without a particular thought”.
The preamble declares India to be a sovereign, socialist, secular and democratic republic.
He says that the term “socialist” and “secular” was inserted in the preamble as part of the 42nd amendment to the Constitution, which was passed during the Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi.
The Modi government created controversy in 2015, when an advertisement on the Republic Day, which featured the preamble, omitted the words “secular” and “socialist”.
Sinha told the Indian Express that in the present socio-economic developmental context, “socialism is completely a reduntant word.”
He also criticised the move to insert the word into the preamble during Emergency, without any discussion or debate in parliament.
“The word is not required at all because the Constituent Assembly had discussed it in detail and Dr B R Ambedkar had made it clear and the Assembly had agreed to settle the issue,” Sinha said. He said that K.T. Shah, an economist who was part of the Constituent Assembly, had proposed the words “federal secular socialist Union of States“, but that Ambedkar had contested the proposal.
Ambedkar rejected the amendment, arguing, “What should be the policy of the State, how the Society should be organised in its social and economic side are matters which must be decided by the people themselves according to time and circumstances.”
Sinha said that a generation cannot be tied to a particular way of thinking. “Besides, the Congress party which ruled the country for seven decades has changed its direction from being socialist to welfare to neo-liberalism. Its new liberal policies adopted in the 1990s have negated its own earlier positions,” he told the newspaper.
NALSAR University’s former vice-chancellor Faizan Mustafa said that the law says the Supreme Court calls the Preamble as the basic structure of the constitution, so words can be added to it but cannot be removed.
He said, “Rakesh Sinha’s argument would state that these terms were not a part of the original 1950’s preamble, but ironically they are a number of points that I can show, were not a part of the original constitution like the Right to Education, was introduced later, fundamental duties were added later, terms like Integrity came in 1976, so when these can sustain in the constitution then why not socialism and secularism.”