June 14, 2007Public Policy

Any party you like. As long as it’s socialist.

Socialism. I swear!

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

The redoubtable S V Raju, who we recently heard of here, of the Indian Liberals Group writes this to the editor of Mint.

…I have been trying to register a party that is expressly opposed to socialism and that I have made very little headway. In fact, I tried to register the old Swatantra Party (there was no registration required in the old days) but my application for registration was rejected.

An amendment to the Representation of the People Act made when Rajiv Gandhi was prime minister stipulated that the constitution or the rules and regulations of political parties should contain a provision swearing loyalty to democracy, secularism and socialism. The Election Commission sent me a form for registration which I completed and returned, accepting democracy and secularism but rejecting socialism, as the Swatantra Party was opposed to it in principle. The registration was turned down.

A friend and I filed a writ petition in the Bombay high court in December 1996. The writ was admitted. It has still to come up for hearing. This is the hurdle. Under current law, no party that refuses to accept socialism can get registered as a political party. So much for our democracy! [Mint]Cynics would say that Mr Raju doesn’t qualify for another reason: he doesn’t lie.

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