Socialism and the Supreme Court (2)

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)

Related Posts: The background; the petition to expunge socialism from the Constitution; the first dismissal.

3 thoughts on “Socialism and the Supreme Court (2)”

  1. what a dumb verdict. with socialism in the preamble, its no wonder we have socialism, fascism and communism guiding the three major parties.

    I wasn’t even aware that political parties have to pledge allegiance to socialism to exist in the country. i think its worse than the “ahmadis are infidels” pledge taken by every pakistani to get a passport.

    does any one know the stand of Swatantra Bharat Paksha Party of Mr. Sharad Joshi in this issue.

  2. I think the lords can’t come out of the nehruvian socialist mindset which has been imbibed in their minds since their yesteryears. Most of them must be in their late 50s and 60s and during their formative years in school/college, must have got brainwashed into the nehruvian socialist *BS* (bias in opinion intended)

    One such example is retired judge V R Krishna Iyer, who swears by Socialism, at least 10 or 20 times, in all articles he pens for The Hindu. He staunchly opposes any free market move made by the govt and strongly supports socialism or statism, even after witnessing the grand collapse of Soviet and course change of China.

    The damage has been done. I think it can get rectified in future, only when a new set of judges, brought up in the 80s and 90s take the centre stage in SC. For all the liberalisation in the economy that we talk of, executives and judiciary are still living in the 60s.

  3. From what I understand, the petitioner Nariman tried to make the point that all parties merely swear by socialism for formality’s sake. I think this is why the court said it’s academic in nature.

    Granted, there are was a party as mentioned above that objected. But a decision on this would bring the court into direct conflict with large sections of people. I’m not sure if the court was ready for such a battle.

    The court has to pick and choose it’s fights. For example, the HC decriminalized homosexuality even though it had initially said it was an academic question – then the SC sent it back. That was one issue it chose to fight.

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