‘Secular’, ‘socialist’ dropped from new copies of Constitution: Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury
Copies given to MPs during the move to a new parliament building lacked the crucial terms. Law minister Arjun Meghwal says it was a copy of the 'original' Constitution
Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has alleged that the new copies of the Constitution that were distributed to the MPs on Tuesday, 19 September, did not have the words ‘socialist’ and ‘secular’ in the Preamble.
“The new copies of the Constitution that were given to us today (19th September), the one we held in our hands and entered (the new parliament building), its Preamble doesn’t have the words ‘socialist secular’,” said Chowdhury.
He said he had wanted to raise the issue in Parliament, but did not get the chance to do so. Chowdhury alleged that the government had made the change "cleverly" and that their intentions were "problematic and suspicious".
Chowdhury underscored that these words were included in the Constitution in 1976, and that “if the Constitution doesn’t have those words, it is a matter of concern”.
These words were added in 1976 as part of the 42nd amendment to the Constitution. The description of India in the Preamble thereby changed to “sovereign socialist secular democratic republic” from the words “sovereign democratic republic”. The amendment also changed “unity of the nation” to “unity and integrity of the nation”.
Chaudhary said, "When I was reading it, I couldn't find these two words. I added them on my own... I also showed it to Rahul Gandhi... It was amended in 1976, so why shouldn't we get it today. Why do we do amendments? This shows the deliberate attempt to change our Constitution..."
However, minister of state for parliamentary affairs Arjun Ram Meghwal said, "When the Constitution was drafted, it was like this. An amendment was made later. This is the original copy. Our spokesperson has replied to the same."
Earlier, while speaking in Parliament, Chowdhury said the Constitution was no less than the Gita, Quran or the Bible for us. “Article 1 says, 'India, that is, Bharat, shall be a Union of States...'. It means that there is no difference between India and Bharat. It will be better if nobody tries to unnecessarily create a rift between the two,” he said.
During the ongoing special session of Parliament, MPs got a copy of the Constitution, some other books related to Parliament, a commemorative coin and a stamp on the opening day of the new parliament building on Tuesday, all enclosed in a gift bag.
The new parliament complex was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 28. The second day of the special session of Parliament took place in the new building, the first time the House was meeting there.