INDIA: While hearing appeals against the Karnataka High Court’s decision upholding the prohibition of Hijab at educational institutions on Wednesday, the Supreme Court (SC) of India remarked that “secularism” was not a part of the original constitution.
A panel of Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia is hearing a batch of petitions challenging the ban on wearing a Hijab in Karnataka educational institutions.
While the Supreme Court was hearing the arguments of lawyer Kamat, Justice Gupta noted that the term “secularism” did not appear in the original constitution.
He remarked in response to Kamat’s claim that the government is reviving a clause offered in the Constituent Assembly(CA) debates that attempted to outlaw the public expression of religion.
Kamat responded that while the term “secularism” was not in the original constitution, the spirit was.
“I am talking about the word. Even in the absence of the word, we were secular,” Justice Gupta remarked.
He further clarified, “Secularism and “socialism” as words were added in the constitution as political statements later.”
The Court then heard arguments about why the amendment was rejected by the CA (to prohibit the display of religion in public). According to Kamat, BR Ambedkar rejected the revisions as unnecessary. During the hearing, Kamat placed the debate of the CA on record.
It’s worth noting that during the 42nd Amendment Act of 1976, the description of India was changed (in preamble) from ‘Sovereign, Democratic, Republic’ to ‘Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic, Republic’.