NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday said India had always been a secular country even when the framers of the Constitution had not thought it fit to insert the word ‘secular’ in the Preamble.
The Preamble of the Constitution, which came into force on January 26, 1950 with India becoming a republic, had originally stated: “We, the people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a sovereign democratic Republic….”
During the Emergency, Indira Gandhi government through 42nd Constitution amendment inserted the words ‘socialist’ and ‘secular’ into the Preamble to make India a “sovereign socialist secular democratic republic”.
When senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi quoted the Preamble and Article 51A (again inserted by 42nd amendment) to argue the constitutional mandate for secularism and promotion of fraternity among various communities, a bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia said, “Even during the absence of the word ‘secular’ in Preamble, we were a secular country.”
“By inserting the word ‘secular’ in the Preamble, we did not become secular,” the bench said. Ahmadi argued that if some section creates a law and order situation because a Muslim woman wore hijab to an educational institution, then the problem lies with the bullies and in the dress of the woman.
As a secular welfare state, the priority of any government would be to foster education for Muslim woman rather than enforcing hijab ban to violate their right to education, he said.





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