Former Vice President Hamid Ansari today said no effort at seeking socio–economic equality between citizens is possible unless the state, as the implementing agency, is secular in letter and spirit.
He said justice and social peace demand that human development be addressed on a priority basis and made equitable.
Ansari was addressing a gathering after launching an organisation, the Association for Social and Economic Equality (ASEE).
He also unveiled a status report on Maharashtra on poverty, inequality, discrimination and untouchability, prepared by Sukhadeo Thorat, president of ASSE and a former chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC).
Quoting from the report, Ansari said, "Human development in Maharashtra, like in many other parts of our land, is unequal and the requirement of justice and social peace demands that human development be addressed on a priority basis and be made equitable."
"No effort at seeking socio–economic equality between citizens is possible unless the state, as the implementing agency, is secular in letter and spirit and acts to implement the provisions of Articles 14, 15 and 16 of the Constitution," the former diplomat said.
The three Articles deal with equality, prohibition of discrimination on the basis of religion, caste, and equality of opportunity.
"Any erosion in the secular functioning of the state is thus detrimental to the totality of the objectives set out in the Constitution," he said.
Ansari said chief Constitution-maker B R Ambedkar had defined social democracy as a way of life which recognises liberty, equality and fraternity as the principles of life.