Monday, July 19, 2010

Dig that court, not that Supreme

If the Supreme Courte of India lies, what you do?

Certainly you should not hang yourself in the nearest lamp post like it continuously doing with the word “socialism” in the name of “nothingness”.

Bibek Debroy has a nice piece exploring the “nothingness of socialism”:

  • But for the Preamble, we wouldn’t have had Section 29-A of Representation of the People Act, 1951, inserted in 1989, specifically Clause (5), requiring the political party to abide by “principles of socialism”. This would have been understandable in 1976. In 1989, the year in which the Berlin Wall collapsed (effectively, so did the Soviet system), this socialism bit in Clause (5) probably got inserted without a great deal of thought, because of the other elements of Section 29-A. Hence, a political party has to be “socialist” for it to be registered.

  • The NGO Good Governance Foundation rightly challenged this — that is, challenged both amended Preamble and Section 29-A(5). In 2008, the Supreme Court ducked. It allowed the challenge to Section 29-A(5), but not the Preamble. Now, on the challenge to Section 29-A(5), the Supreme Court has ducked again, calling the issue “academic and hypothetical”. Why is it academic and hypothetical? Because no registered political party has refused to swear allegiance to socialism? And because the Election Commission (EC) hasn’t so far refused registration to a proposed political party on grounds of non-adherence to socialism. Let that situation crop up, and then we (the Supreme Court) shall see.

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