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Faithful to the Constitution?

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On December 24, 2017, the Union minister of state for employment and skill development, Anant kumar Hegde, made an astounding declaration. Hegde, who was speaking at an event in the Koppal district of Karnataka, said: “I will be happy if someone identifies as Muslim, Christian, Brahmin, Lingayat or Hindu. But trouble will arise if they say they are secular.”

He also said that those who claimed they were secular “do not have an identity of their parents and their blood”, adding that it was time to amend the Constitution. Earlier, Hegde, who has been a member the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and an activist of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Morcha, had been booked for hate speech for making derogatory remarks against Islam. In March 2016, he was quoted as saying that “as long as there is Islam in this world, there will be terrorism".

On January 1, BJP MLA (Alwar) Banwari Lal Singhal, in a Facebook post, wrote: “The way the Muslim population is increasing, the existence of Hindus is in danger. It is a well-planned conspiracy to have a Muslim in the chair of president, prime minister and chief ministers.”

These are only two recent examples of the ever burgeoning mountain of abuse and hate comments targeting minority communities and fanning sectarianism across the country ever since the run up to the 2014 general elections and the subsequent formation of the Modi government. What many do not realise is that these elected members of the government are each time violating:

1) Third Schedule of the Constitution of India

2) Section 29A in the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

The Indian Constitution enjoins that the prime minister, including every minister of his cabinet and ministers of state of the Union will take an oath of office on appointment to his/her august office. The oath prescribed in the Third Schedule of the Part I of our Constitution is mandatory and inviolable, namely:

Form of oath of office for a minister for the Union:

"I, AB, do swear in the name of God/solemnly affirm that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India as by law established,_439 [that I will uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India] that I will faithfully and conscientiously discharge my duties as a Minister for the Union and that I will do right to all manner of people in accordance with the Consitution and the law, without fear or favour, affection or ill-will."

The forms of oath have been prescribed for the president, the prime minister, the chief justice of India, the controller and auditor general, and the members of legislature etc. The obvious intention was to ensure that the person concerned makes a commitment to live by the Constitutional process. He........

© DailyO