Forcing parties to be socialist is not an academic question
Strange are the ways of the Supreme Court. Ruling against a petition to expunge the adjective “Socialist” to describe the Indian republic in January 2008, the Court said socialism “hasn’t got any definite meaning. It gets different meaning in different times.” If we are to accept this bizarre logic, why not declare India a Variable Republic, because the word variable is the most appropriate to describe something that “gets different meanings in different times.”
Yesterday, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, presided over by the Chief Justice, turned down the petition again:
saying though the PIL raised an important question of law, it was purely academic in nature at present. “The court will decide such a question as and when a political party which is refused recognition by EC raises it.” [TOI]
(Also see J Venkatesan’s report in The Hindu)
This is equally bizarre. Even if we were to grant that the Supreme Court should decide only on non-academic questions—and requiring every party to swear by socialism is certainly not academic—hasn’t the Bench heard of Swatantra Party’s case that is with the Mumbai High Court?
It may well be that the petitioners presented their case as a question of law and principle. That it is. But it is also more than that. Next time, the petitioners should present socialism as the cause of India’s poverty and a threat to its development. (See Atanu Dey’s recent post)