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HC dismisses plea to declare ‘Vande Mataram’ as national anthem or song

“We see no reason to give direction to the respondent (Centre) to declare 'Vande Mataram' as national anthem or national song,” a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar said.

Written by Pritam Pal Singh | New Delhi |
July 27, 2019 9:51:10 am
Vande Mataram, Vande Mataram national anthem, delhi high court, india national song Declining the relief, the high court bench pointed during the brief hearing that that ‘Vande Mataram’ was already the national song and the petitioner must be aware of it. (Representational Image)

The Delhi High Court Friday refused to give direction to the Centre to declare ‘Vande Mataram’ the National Anthem, at par with ‘Jana Gana Mana’, or the National Song and to make a national policy to promote and propagate them.

“We see no reason to give direction to the respondent (Centre) to declare ‘Vande Mataram’ as national anthem or national song,” a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar said.

It said that, “we no reason to entertain this petition, while exercising its powers under Article 226 of the Constitution”, filed advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay.

The advocate had sought a direction to make singing of ‘Vande Mataram’ compulsory in all schools on every working day.

Declining the relief, the high court bench pointed during the brief hearing that that ‘Vande Mataram’ was already the national song and the petitioner must be aware of it.

Upadhyay, who was putting his case before the bench in-person, replied this is the “gap/vacuum. It is not the national song and my prayer is that either it be treated as the national anthem or the national song by way of notification”.

The public interest litigation (PIL) wanted that ‘Vande Mataram’, written by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, be given the same respect as the National Anthem, ‘Jana Gana Mana’ penned by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore.

It said that the National Song played a vital role in Independence movement and was first sung in a political context by Rabindranath Tagore at the 1896 session of the Indian National Congress.

“Both the ‘Jana Gana Mana’ and ‘Vande Mataram’ have to be equally respected. The sentiments expressed in ‘Jana Gana Mana’ have been expressed keeping the State in view. However, the sentiments expressed in ‘Vande Mataram’ denote the nation’s character and style and deserves similar respect,” the PIL sought.

In October 2017 also, a PIL was filed in the Delhi High Court seeking a direction to treat the national song at par with the national anthem. However, the same PIL was dismissed after the Centre had opposed the plea saying ‘Vande Mataram’ occupies a “unique and special place” in the psyche of Indians but it cannot be treated at par with ‘Jana Gana Mana’.

In 2017, a Single Judge Bench of the Madras High Court had made it compulsory to sing Vande Mataram in educational institutions, government offices and private establishments. The single judge’s order was later set aside by a Division Bench, which left it to the discretion of the government to impose such a policy.

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