Leitmotif

Reason as the Leading Motive

Swear to Socialism, or else…

Posted by Jerry on June 15, 2007

S.V. Raju tried to register a new political party in India expressly oppossing Socialism and advocating free market economy. He wrote to the Editor of Mint telling what his experience was like:

I have been trying to register a party that is expressly opposed to socialism and that I have made very little headway. In fact, I tried to register the old Swatantra Party (there was no registration required in the old days) but my application for registration was rejected.

An amendment to the Representation of the People Act made when Rajiv Gandhi was prime minister [of India] stipulated that the constitution or the rules and regulations of political parties should contain a provision swearing loyalty to democracy, secularism and socialism. The Election Commission sent me a form for registration which I completed and returned, accepting democracy and secularism but rejecting socialism, as the Swatantra Party was opposed to it in principle. The registration was turned down.

A friend and I filed a writ petition in the Bombay high court in December 1996. The writ was admitted. It has still to come up for hearing. This is the hurdle. Under current law, no party that refuses to accept socialism can get registered as a political party. So much for our democracy! [bold mine]

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2 Responses to “Swear to Socialism, or else…”

  1. Priyank said

    The Indian communists are biggest hypocrites and I don’t need to tell you that 😉 Just look at the way Bengal government is jostling against other states to grab a piece of the FDI pie and selling tribal lands to them (after self-declaring their ownership on those lands). When people vote for the commies I wonder if they really vote for the communists, or they just vote for a symbol they know for years.

    The constitution defines India as a sovereign, socialist, democratic republic. I seriously question the aptitude of current parliamentarians to debate that. Can the judiciary meddle in this largely legislative affair?

  2. Ergo said

    Priyank,

    Properly, the role of the judiciary is to uphold the Constitution, ensure that legislation remains consistent with a legitimate interpretation of constitutional laws, interpret the application of Constitutional laws in particular cases, and pass swift judgment based on objectively just laws.

    Now, in the case of India, the Constitution itself *defines* the Indian nation as committed to Socialism. Thus, the role of the judiciary would in fact–in this case–be to uphold the constitution and ensure that the nation’s laws and political structures remain true to Socialism. Note also that there is no other law in the Indian constitution that can be used to surmount a challenge to the socialism clause. Thus, the courts are really helpless in this matter. If any change has to occur, it has to begin from a legislative process–being that India is a democracy. The parliament, consisting of elected representatives of the people, are the only ones who can enter an amendment into the constitution to either eliminate the commitment to Socialism or broaden the scope of its commitment to include capitalism and free-market systems as well.

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