Congress alleges that ‘socialist and secular’ were omitted from new Constitution copies.

Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, the leader of the Congress party and the Lok Sabha leader of the Opposition, has raised concerns about the new copies of the Constitution distributed to MPs in the new Parliament building. He pointed out that these copies do not include the words “socialist and secular,” which are mentioned in India’s preamble.

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Chowdhury expressed his doubts about the government’s intentions, suggesting that the omission of these words was done cleverly and is a matter of concern. He attempted to raise this issue but did not get the opportunity to do so.

The terms ‘socialist’ and ‘secular’ were added to the preamble of the Constitution during the 42nd Amendment in 1976, which occurred during the Emergency period under then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s leadership. These words were included to reassure the nation that minorities would be protected, and economic dominance by the affluent class would be avoided.

Interestingly, both India’s first Prime Minister, Jawahar Lal Nehru, and the architect of the Indian Constitution, BR Ambedkar, were committed to the ideal of secularism. However, they were cautious about its inclusion in the preamble. Ambedkar believed that these matters should be decided by the people themselves over time and circumstances, rather than being laid down in the Constitution. Nehru saw secularism as an ideal to be aimed at, acknowledging that prejudices and communalism exist to some extent in everyone’s hearts.

While the Constituent Assembly adopted Articles 25, 26, and 27, which guarantee religious freedom and protection of interests of minorities, they did not formally insert the word ‘secularism’ into the Constitution. Instead, the concept was embedded in the constitutional philosophy.

During the Emergency in 1975, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi made significant changes to the Constitution, including altering the preamble to describe India as a ‘sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic,’ reflecting a shift in the country’s political landscape at that time.

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