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Vande Mataram: Delhi HC issues notice to Centre, Delhi govt, NCERT

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The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought responses from the Centre, Delhi Government and National Council for Education Research and Training (NCERT) on a plea seeking that Vande Mataram be accorded a status at par with the national anthem Jana Gana Mana.

The Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Sachin Datta was dealing with a public interest litigation filed by BJP leader and practising Advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay alleging 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.

During the course of hearing, the Bench, at the outset, expressed displeasure over the petition being all over the press even before the same being listed before the Court, giving an impression that it is filed for publicity. The Court directed Upadhyay to not resort to such practices in future, while observing: “When a petitioner does anything of this kind, what the Court gets is that it is merely a publicity stunt that the petitioner wishes to engage in.”

Upadhyay, after expressing regret in this regard, submitted that while the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971, which was enacted to prohibit desecration or insult to the country’s national symbols, includes national anthem within its umbrella, it omits to mention Vande Mataram

At this point, the Bench issued notice in the matter and posted the same for hearing on November 9, 2022. 
Highlighting that the Constituent Assembly Chairman Dr. Rajendra Prasad on January 24, 1950, made a statement apropos Vande Mataram be granted equal status with that of Jana Gana Mana, the plea sought a direction to the Centre to frame guidelines in the spirit of the Constituent Assembly Resolution. It further sought a direction to ensure that Jana Gana Mana and Vande Mataram be played and sung in all schools and educational institutions on every working day.

Vande Mataram is the symbol of our history, sovereignty, unity and pride. If any citizen by any overt or covert act shows disrespect to it, it would not only be an anti-social activity but it would also spell doom to all our rights and very existence as a citizen of a sovereign nation. Every citizen must therefore not only refrain from any such activities but also do his best to prevent if any miscreant trying to show any disrespect to Vande Mataram. We must be proud of our Nation, our Constitution, National Anthem and National Flag and put national interest above our personal interests and only then will we be able to protect our hard-earned freedom and sovereignty. It is duty of the executive to frame a national policy to promote and propagate Vande Mataram,” the plea states. 

Claiming that it is the duty of every Indian citizen to show the same respect to Vande Mataram which is being shown to the National Anthem, it averred thus-“There shall not be dramatization of Vande Mataram and it must not be included in any variety show because when Vande Mataram is sung/played, it is imperative on the part of every one present to show due respect and honour. To think of a dramatized exhibition of Vande Mataram is inconceivable. It shall not be printed on any object and never be displayed in such a manner at such places, which may be disgraceful to its status and tantamount to disrespect.”

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