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Justice KM Joseph warns against removal of "Secularism" from Constitution

Justice KM Joseph warns against removal of Secularism from Constitution

Former Supreme Court Justice KM Joseph / Telegraph

Former Supreme Court Justice KM Joseph emphasized the critical role of secularism in upholding democracy, stating that its removal from the Constitution's preamble would pose a grave threat to the nation's democratic values.

Speaking at an event organized by the Kerala High Court Advocates’ Association, on Thursday, Joseph highlighted that secularism is intrinsic to the Constitution to ensure equality and the right to life for all citizens. It guarantees the prohibition of discrimination and upholds secular values.

"Secularism is absolutely indispensable in a democracy. If secularism is going to be removed by any government from the Preamble to the Constitution, under the impression that by merely removing the word secularism you are removing the features of secularism...even if it is removed, it will sound the death knell of democracy", said Justice Joseph.

He cautioned against any attempt to remove it from the preamble. Justice Joseph asserted that even without the explicit mention of secularism, the Constitution inherently embodies its principles, safeguarding religious neutrality and equality among all faiths.

Addressing concerns raised by certain quarters advocating for the removal of the term "secular" from the Constitution, Justice Joseph reaffirmed that secularism remains an integral aspect of India's democratic framework. He emphasized the need for the state to maintain complete neutrality in religious matters and stated that religion should remain a private affair for individuals.

"The whole idea of secularism is religion is your private affair, keep it private…state must maintain complete neutrality. This is the substance of what is laid down by SC in these batch of cases," Justice Joseph added.

Justice Joseph also Highlighted the consensus among members of the constituent assembly on India's secular identity and mentioned that secularism was implicitly understood and embraced by the framers of the Constitution.

The remarks from Justice Joseph come amidst ongoing debates and legal challenges regarding the inclusion of the terms "secular" and "socialist" in the Constitution's preamble. While some political figures have advocated for their removal, Justice Joseph's remarks reaffirm the foundational importance of secularism in preserving India's democratic ethos.

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