“Socialism” in Preamble

Supreme Court’s order dismissing the petition against the use of the word, “socialism” in Preamble to the Constitution appears paradoxical. The Bench was correct in saying that no political party has opposed its retention in view of the changed circumstances, and that the issue at present, is academic, though important. The Bench has said that it could relook at it if any political party challenges its retention, and when the E.C. has to take a decision if a political party refuses to subscribe to it formally. But this stand exposes a profound paradox. The Preamble is not just for political parties, but all the citizens as well. If some political parties (ruling or the opposition) are unfaithful to the letter and spirit of the Preamble, in terms of what they practice and preach, can’t the citizens seek the Court’s intervention? In this case, the petitioner opposed the retention of the word ‘socialism’, because it apparently lost its relevance since the introduction of economic reforms. No political party is likely to say openly that it does not believe in socialism, and risk derecognition by the Election Commission. Therefore, the Court has perhaps unwittingly allowed the political parties to lie, rather than risk E.C.’s derecognition, and possibly the Court’s approval to it later. Sometimes, academic questions need to be resolved, when they are still academic, so that truth alone triumphs. By describing the question as important, the Court has conceded that what the petitioner says is perhaps true. If so, allowing political parties to continue to lie under oath, is against our motto, Satyameva Jayate.

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