The Preamble of our Constitution says that we are a Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic. But a section of people argue that since the words – Socialist and Secular – were not there in the original Constitution therefore they can be ignored. This is a dangerous propaganda based on half-truth. It is true that these words were not in the Preamble when Constitution came into effect on 26 January 1950. It was incorporated by the 42nd Amendment Act in 1976. But the Socialist Secular character was embedded in our Constitution and even in its Preamble since its birth.
Secularism has been embodied in Article 15, Article 25 to Article 30 and Article 51A(e) in our Constitution. While Article 25 has given every citizen equal entitlement to freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion; Article 25 (2) has made religion under the control of the State and not vice versa as for example Article 25 (2) (b) has given the State the power to throw open Hindu religious institutions of a public character to all classes and sections of Hindus.
On the other hand, the socialist character has found its room in Article 14, Article 16 to 18 and Article 38 to 47 of the Constitution from the very beginning. The Constitution directs the State to secure that the ownership and control of the material resources of the community are so distributed as best to subserve the common good (Article 39(b)) and the operation of the economic system does not result in the concentration of wealth and means of production to the common detriment (Article 39(c)).
As a matter of fact, our Constitution is Socialist and Secular in every inch from its Fundamental Rights to Fundamental Duties to Directive Principles of State Policy. Even the Preamble itself was Secular and Socialist in character at the time of its birth. On 26 January 1950, the Preamble resolved to secure to all its citizens Liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship and Equality of status and of opportunity.
Sujit De, Kolkata