The Rajya Sabha member and the Communist Party of India (CPI) leader Binoy Viswam has moved the Supreme Court against the petition filed by former Union Minister Subramanian Swamy for deleting the words “socialist” and “secular” from the Preamble of the Indian Constitution.
CPI leader has filed an impleadment application through advocate Sriram Parakkat which was drawn by advocate Mahesh Menon, contending that the plea by Swamy is an absolute abuse of the law process. He said the plea is meritless and should be rejected.
The plea by Swamy challenges the 42nd amendment to the Constitution, that changed its description of India from a “sovereign democratic republic” to a “sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic”.
The application by the CPI leader mentions that “It is most respectfully submitted that the challenge here is surreptitiously coded as a challenge to the 42nd Amendment. However, the only intent of this petition is to enable a political party to seek votes in the name of religion.”
On the other hand, Swamy has asked the Apex Court for striking down the sub-section 5 of Section 29 (A) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
Section 29-A of the Act provides for the registration of associations and bodies as political parties with the Election Commission.
The Sub-section (5 ) of this act asks for registration of a political party to carry an undertaking that the applicant shall bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India as by law established, and to the principles of socialism, secularism and democracy, and would uphold the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India.
As per the CPI leader the purpose of plea by Swamy is to make votes on the basis of religion legal.
Sub-section (3) of Section 123 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 treats an appeal to the electorate to vote on the basis of religion, race, caste or community of the candidate or the use of religious symbols as a corrupt practice.
The application of Viswam adds that the necessity is of giving an undertaking such that of section 29 (A) would make it impossible for a political party to seek votes in the name of the religion without falling foul of the prohibited provision of section 123″
Swamy in his plea challenges the insertion of the words ‘Secular’ and “Socialist’ in Section 29 A (5) of the Representation of People Act, 1951 which makes it mandatory for the political parties, to bear adherence to the concepts in question i.e the principles of socialism and secularism.
The applicant by Viswam has contended that petition is filed with a zeal to appeal for votes in the name of the religion by the political parties.
Talking about the words “socialist” and “secular” in the Preamble, the application says that
“…the constitution makers had always had clear, cogent and belligerent intent to keep Indian polity secular and the secular nature of the constitution is not dependent on the insertion of the word ‘secular’ into the preamble.”
The applicant also conveys that the Indian Constitution provides right to freely practice, profess and propagate a religion of its choice to the citizen, which makes the Constitution a secular one.