Private Member Bill to amend Preamble in Rajya Sabha – UPSC GS2

Context: A Private Bill is introduced in RS to amend Preamble.
What is the Issue?
  • A Rajya Sabha member introduced a Private Member bill that seeks to replace the word “Socialist” with “Equitable” in the Preamble.
  • The member K.J. Alphons has argued that the term “socialist” has “political connotations” and carries historical baggage that need not be acceptable to a large section of India.
Why was the Bill opposed?
  • Opposition members in Rajya Sabha had opposed the motion to introduce a Bill on the subject.
  • They had argued that Preamble is part of the basic structure of the Constitution and the Bill may not be allowed for introduction.
  • Opposition members also referred to Rule 62 (2) of the Rules of Procedure and contended that such a bill, which did not have the previous sanction or recommendation of the President, cannot be introduced in the House.
Deputy Chairman view:
  • A Bill to amend the Preamble of the Constitution can be introduced if the House so decides but the Chair does not have the powers to do so.
  • There are instances where Private Members’ Bills to amend the Preamble have been moved in the past.
What is a Private Member’s Bill?
  • A member of parliament (MP) who is not a minister is a private member.
  • The Bills introduced by private members are referred to as Private Member’s Bills.
Can Preamble be amended?
  • The Preamble is an introductory statement, stating the aims and objectives of the Constitution.
  • The Preamble is part of the Constitution.
  • According to Article 368 of the Constitution, Parliament may, in exercise of its constituent power, amend by way of addition, variation or repeal any provision of the Constitution and a Bill for the purpose can be introduced in either House of Parliament.