New Delhi: The words “socialist, secular” were omitted in English copies of the Constitution distributed to MPs on Tuesday.
But the Hindi copies of the Constitution had the correct version. This raised speculations and allegations regarding whether the “change” was intentional or deliberate.
The opposition termed it an “attack” on the Constitution.
Reacting to this controversy, Union Law Minister Arjun Meghwal said the English copies featured the “original version” of the Preamble of the Constitution. “When the Constitution came into being, it did not have the words ‘socialist, secular’. These words were included in the 42nd amendment of the Constitution in 1976,” he said.
Following his view, the Opposition alleged that the government was trying to sneak in a big change in the Constitution without following due process.
“We know that the words were added after an amendment in 1976, but if someone gives us the Constitution today and it doesn’t have those words, it is a matter of concern. Their intention is suspicious. It has been done cleverly. This is a serious matter and we will raise this issue,” said Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.
The terms ‘socialist’ and ‘secular’ were inserted into the preamble as part of the 42nd Amendment of the Constitution in 1976.
Once an amendment is notified, the old Constitution should cease to be printed, opposition leaders said. Any change to the Constitution, therefore, would be tampering, they asserted.