A day after the extraordinary session was formally transferred to the new building of parliament, a huge uproar was sparked by the disappearance of the phrases “socialist, secular” in English copies of the Constitution given to MPs yesterday. It’s been referred to as an “attack” on the Constitution by the opposition.
In response to the accusation, Law Minister Arjun Meghwal stated that the copies included the “original version” of the Constitution’s Preamble. “The words’socialist, secular’ were not in the Constitution when it was created. He noted that these terms were incorporated into the 42nd Amendment to the Constitution in 1976.
The opposition charged the government with imposing a significant change without following proper process, which sparked more demonstrations in response to the comment.
“The new copies of the Constitution that were given to us, the one we held in our hands and entered (the new Parliament building), its Preamble doesn’t have the words’socialist secular’,” Congress lawmaker Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury remarked, casting doubt on the BJP’s motivations.
“We know that the words were added after an amendment in 1976, but if someone gives us the Constitution today and it doesn’t have those words, it is a matter of concern. Their intention is suspicious. It has been done cleverly. This is a serious matter and we will raise this issue,” he said.
“I doubt their intentions as their heart does not seem to be clear on this,” added Mr Chowdhury, the leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha.
On the first day of the new parliament building, MPs received gift bags with copies of the Constitution inside.
India was previously referred to be a “sovereign, democratic republic” in the preamble of the Constitution.
The 42nd amendment underwent several changes during the Emergency imposed by the Indira Gandhi-led Congress government, including the addition of the words “socialist” and “secular” between “sovereign” and “democratic” and the change of “unity of the nation” to “unity and integrity of the nation.”
In 1978, many of the alterations were undone, but the revised preamble remained.
The Supreme Court declared in 1994 that “secularism” is an element of the basic structural doctrine, which states that some fundamental traits cannot be changed.
The old Constitution shouldn’t be printed after a notification of an alteration, according to opposition leaders. Therefore, they said, any amendment to the Constitution would be considered meddling.
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