A plea has been moved in the Supreme Court challenging the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act 1976, by which the words "socialist" & "secular" were inserted in the Preamble of the Constitution on ground of being antithetical to Constitutional tenets as well as the historical and cultural theme of India.
The petition states that insertion of the words "socialist" and "secular" in the Preamble is illegal for violating the concept of freedom of Speech and Expression and the Right to Freedom of Religion under Articles 19(1)(a) and 25 respectively.
"...such amendment is also against the historical and cultural theme of the Great Republic of Bharat, the oldest civilisation of the world, having clear concept of "Dharma" different from the concept of religion and the communist theory of State cannot be applied in Indian context which has been a total failure and is not in tune with the religious sentiments and socioeconomic conditions of India"
Moved by lawyers Balram Singh and Karunesh Kumar Shukla, through Advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain, the petition has also challenged insertion of the words Secular and Socialist in section 29 A (5) of the Representation of People Act 1951 making it compulsory on political parties for registration before the EC to make a specific provision in its memorandum or rules and regulations that the body shall bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India and to principles of socialism, secularism and democracy .
"The question is as to whether the political parties and public in general have to follow principles of socialism and secularism compulsorily and the conditions embodied in section 29-A (5) of the Representation of People Act are violative of Article 19(1) (a),(c), Article 25 and against the principle of democracy, the soul of the Constitutional theme" - excerpt of Plea
Referring to the case of Abhiram Vs. CD Commachen, the petitioner(s) has questioned whether the concepts of secularism and socialism are political thoughts and may apply for Governance of the Country but the subjects of the nations are not "bound to accept a particular ideology" and that the "application of the ideology depends on the will of the people to be reflected through votes from time to time".
Stating that the Constitution must be in consonance with "historical" and "cultural" background of the country, the petitioner(s) refers to the concept of "Dharma" following which attacks from invaders like Mohd. Bin Qasim trampled Indian culture and a number of evils developed in the society.
In this context, the petitioner contends that the concepts of socialism and secularism were an outcome of "Karl Max phenomenon".
While arguing that declaring India as a secular country contradicts with certain provisions of the Constitution vis-à-vis grants made in favour of minorities, plea states,
"a secular state cannot provide any grant to any religious community. Such types of grant being given by the state are alien to the concept of secular state. Secularism and grant to minority institution cannot go together. These are antithesis to each other"
In this backdrop, the petitioners have prayed that the words "Secular" & "Socialist" be struck down from the Preamble and directions for restricting the words to Sovereign functioning of the state must be made applicable.
Additionally, the plea also seeks issuance of directions to State in so far as it does not have "power and jurisdiction to compel the citizens of India to abide by the principles of Socialism and Secularism".
In 2016, the Allahabad High Court had upheld the inclusion of words "socialist" and "secular" in the Preamble to the Indian Constitution.