SC says no to deletion of word 'socialist' from Constitution
New Delhi (PTI): Defining socialism as a means of public welfare, the Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a plea that the word "socialist" should be deleted from the preamble of the Constitution.
"Why do you take socialism in a narrow sense defined by communists. In broader sense, it means welfare measures for the citizens. It is a facet of democracy," a three judge Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan observed.
The Bench was hearing a PIL seeking direction to delete the word "socialist" from the preamble of the Constitution on the ground that it was originally not there and adding the word amounted to re-writing it.
"It hasn't got any definite meaning. It gets different meaning in different times," the Bench observed.
However, it agreed to hear the PIL which also sought to strike down the provision of Representation of People Act (RPA) requiring a political party to adhere to socialism for being recognised.
The Bench, also comprising Justices R V Raveendran and J M Panchal, will look into the issue of derecognising political parties which have wrongly shown allegiance to socialism in their manifesto despite their contrary objectives.
The Court after hearing the contention of the petitioner issued notices to the Centre and the Election Commission.
"It is contrary to the Constitution and to its democratic foundations that political parties be called upon to swear allegiance only to a particular mindset or ideology," senior advocate Fali S Nariman, appearing for petitioner, Kolkatta-based NGO Good Governance India Foundation.