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Delhi High Court today dismissed a petition demanding grant of equal status to the national song “Vande Mataram” at par with the national anthem.

Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar dismissed the petition in Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay v Union of India urging the Central Government to frame a National Policy to promote and propagate ‘Jana Gana Mana’ and ‘Vande Mataram’ and if possible name ‘Vande Mataram’ as the National Anthem of India.

History

Bankim Chandra Chatterjee wrote “Vande Mataram” as a spontaneous response to the British Administration trying to push “God Save the Queen” as the National Anthem in India. Published in 1882 in ‘Anandamatha’, it had become the whole nation’s thought and motto for independence. Its chanting was proscripted by the British Administration as it promoted nationalistic fervor.

The first ever version of the national flag, during the freedom movement had the slogan “Vande Mataram” written in the middle band.

Contention

The Petitioner contended that the Constituent Assembly declared that national song and national anthem be used and given the same amount of respect. Articles 51 also provides the respect for the emblem and national anthem.

Praying for equal respect to both national anthem and national song, the petition reads:

“There is no reason why it should evoke any other sentiment as the both are decided by the Constitution makers. The sentiments expressed in ‘Jana Gana Mana’ have been expressed keeping State in view. However, the sentiments expressed in ‘Vande Mataram’ denote the nation’s character and style and deserve similar respect. Sometimes ‘Jana Gana Mana’ and ‘Vande Mataram’ is sung in such circumstances, which are not permissible and can never be countenanced in law. It is the duty of every Indian to show respect when the ‘Jana Gana Mana’ and ‘Vande Mataram’ is played or recited or sung.”

Court’s Order:

Petition dismissed as Court is not inclined to issue any kind of direction in this matter under the power granted in Article 226.

– India Legal Bureau

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