SC poser on socialism

The Supreme Court, which was to examine the issue of allegiance to the ideal of socialism as a pre-condition for political parties for getting registered with Election Commission, today put some searching questions to an NGO.

Updated: Jul 06, 2010, 00:44 AM IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court, which was to
examine the issue of allegiance to the ideal of socialism as a
pre-condition for political parties for getting registered
with Election Commission, today put some searching questions
to an NGO which has brought it up.

"You are not challenging the insertion of the word
socialist in the preamble. Today, you are shifting the issue,"
a Bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia said when the
counsel, appearing for the NGO which filed a PIL, pressed that
the question of law was involved in the matter.

The Bench, also comprising Justices K S Radhakrishnan
and Swatanter Kumar, said the NGO has to file a separate
petition or have to amend it and challenge the insertion of
word "socialist" in the preamble.

The PIL by NGO Good Governance India Foundation, has
questioned the 42nd Amendment to the Constitution of 1976 that
introduced the words "socialist" and "secular" in the
Preamble.

Advocate Gopal Shankaranaraynan, appearing for the NGO,
said the PIL challenges both the validity of the 42nd
amendment and Section 29A(5) of the Representation of Peoples
Act 1951 relating to registration of political parties.

Section 29A(5) states that "the application under
sub-section (1) shall be accompanied by a copy of the
memorandum or rules and regulations of the association or body
and such memorandum or rules and regulations shall contain a
specific provision that the association or body shall bear
true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India as by
law established and to the principles of socialism, secularism
and democracy..."

The apex court had on January 11 decided to examine the
issue only within the ambit of election law without going into
the realm of the Constitution.

The court, while entertaining the PIL, had made it clear
that it will hear the matter in the context of the RPA and
not examine the issue of validity of the 42nd amendment.

However, the Bench today said it cannot entertain the
petition in the present form and asked the counsel to seek
instruction from the NGO within two weeks.

"If the word socialist or socialism violates your right,
you have a right to show it," the Bench said.

-PTI