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India

HC Issues Notice To Centre, Delhi Govt On PIL Seeking Equal Status For ‘Vande Mataram’ As National Anthem

The court also sought a response from the National Council for Education Research and Training (NCERT) on the petition which also prayed for a direction to the Centre and Delhi government to ensure that 'Jana Gana Mana' and 'Vande Mataram' are played and sung in all schools and educational institutions on every working day.

Delhi HC
File Photo of Delhi High Court (PTI Photo)

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought to know the Centre and Delhi government’s stand on a plea seeking that a policy be framed to equally propagate the national anthem and the national song – ‘Vande Mataram’.

A Bench of Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Sachin Datta issued notice on the petition by BJP leader and lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay and granted time to the respondents to file their response.

The court also sought a response from the National Council for Education Research and Training (NCERT) on the petition which also prayed for a direction to the Centre and Delhi government to ensure that ‘Jana Gana Mana’ and ‘Vande Mataram’ are played and sung in all schools and educational institutions on every working day.

Meanwhile, the court expressed displeasure at the petitioner publicising the filing of the petition even before it was listed for hearing, saying it gives an impression that the petition was filed for publicity.

The court, however, noted that the petitioner has expressed regret and he has been directed not to resort to such a practice. The court said it would entertain the present PIL because the petitioner is a serious litigant.

The petitioner argued before the court that in the absence of any guideline or regulations to honour ‘Vande Mataram’, the national song is being sung in an “uncivilised manner” and misused in films and parties.

The petitioner stated that the song played a historic part in the Indian freedom struggle and ought to be honoured as much as ‘Jana Gana Mana’ in view of the statement made by the Constituent Assembly Chairman Dr Rajendra Prasad in 1950.

“In order to keep the country united, it is the duty of the government to frame a National Policy to promote-propagate ‘Jana Gana Mana’ and ‘Vande Mataram’. There is no reason why it should evoke any other sentiment as the both are decided by Constitution makers,” the petition said.

“The sentiments expressed in ‘Jana Gana Mana’ have been expressed keeping the state in view. However, sentiments expressed in ‘Vande Mataram’ denote the nation’s character and style and deserve similar respect,” it said.

The petition asserted that there should not be any dramatisation of ‘Vande Mataram’ and “it must not be included in any variety show because whenever it is sung or played, it is imperative on the part of every one present to show due respect and honour.”

“Direct and declare that the song Vande Mataram, which had played a historic part in the struggle for Indian freedom, shall be honoured equally with ‘Jana Gana Mana’ and shall have equal status with it in spirit of the statement made by the Constituent Assembly Chairman Hon’ble Dr. Rajendra Prasad with regard to the National Anthem, on 24.01.1950,” the petition urged.

The matter would be heard next on November 9.

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