Rajnath Singh’s remarks on ‘secularism’ nonsensical: Former chief justice

New Delhi: Former Delhi High Court Chief Justice Rajinder Sachar on Thursday termed as “nonsensical” Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s remarks that “secularism” was the “most misused” word and it be translated as “panth nirpeksh” in Hindi, even as he expressed surprise that BJP leaders still have not learnt lessons from their drubbing in Bihar polls.

“They say the word was incorporated in the Preamble later. Question is not when the two words were incorporated, but whether it is part of the Constitution or not.

I am surprised Rajnath can make such a nonsensical statement, especially in the wake of (his party’s) drubbing in Bihar elections,” Justice (retd.) Sachar said on the sidelines of an event here to mark Constitution Day.
Eminent poet Ashok Vajpeyi too lambasted the ruling party, saying it only has “dishonoured” the word most and said it to be replaced with ‘sarv dharma sambhav’ (broadly meaning equality of all religions).

Vajpeyi stated the word ‘sarva dharma sambhav’ would be a better replacement for “secularism” as it conveys respect for all the religions. “In my opinion, it should not be either ‘dharma nirpeksh’ or ‘panth nirpeksh’.

Instead, we should use the word Gandhiji would use, ‘sarva dharma samabhav’, which is a better word, expressing respect for all the religions.

“Dharma nirpeksh has been in use and the ruling party has played a big role in dishonouring the word,” Vajpeyi said on the sidelines of the event. Meanwhile, Sachar defended actor Aamir Khan on his comments on “intolerance”.

He also condemned the Centre for the situation that cricket matches between India and Pakistan are being considered to be organised at a neutral location like Sri Lanka.

The winter session of Lok Sabha today began with an animated debate on the Constitution during which the government said the word ‘secularism’ mentioned in it had been “misused” while the opposition, led by Congress President Sonia Gandhi, raked up the issue of ‘intolerance’.

Initiating discussion on ‘Commitment to India’s Constitution’ as part of 125th birth anniversary of B R Ambedkar, Rajnath Singh said the architect of the Constitution had never thought of putting the term ‘secularism’ in the Preamble but it was incorporated through an amendment in 1976.