The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought to know the position of the Centre and the Delhi government on a petition asking for a policy to promote the national anthem and the national song, “Vande Mataram,” equally. Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Sachin Datta issued notice on the petition filed by BJP leader and lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, giving the respondents time to respond.
The court also requested a response from the National Council for Education Research and Training (NCERT) on the petition, which also requested that “Jana Gana Mana” and “Vande Mataram” be played and sung in all schools and educational institutions in every working day.
Meanwhile, the court expressed its displeasure with the petitioner’s decision to publicise the petition’s filing even before it was scheduled for hearing, claiming that it gives the impression that the petition was filed for publicity. The court did note, however, that the petitioner has expressed regret and has been told not to do so again.
The court stated that the current PIL would be heard because the petitioner is a serious litigant.
The petitioner argued in court that, in the absence of any guidelines or regulations, the national anthem is being sung in an “uncivilised manner” and is being misappropriated in films and parties.
In light of the statement made by the Constituent Assembly Chairman Dr Rajendra Prasad in 1950, the petitioner stated that the song played a historic role in the Indian freedom struggle and deserved to be honoured as much as ‘Jana Gana Mana.’
“It is the government’s responsibility to frame a National Policy to promote and propagate ‘Jana Gana Mana’ and ‘Vande Mataram’ in order to keep the country united.”
“There is no reason why it should elicit any other emotion because both are decided by Constitution makers,” according to the petition.
“The sentiments expressed in ‘Jana Gana Mana’ were written with the current state in mind. “However, the sentiments expressed in ‘Vande Mataram’ reflect the nation’s character and style, and deserve to be treated with the same respect,” it added.
The petition stated that “Vande Mataram” should not be dramatised and “it must not be included in any variety show,” because “it is imperative on the part of everyone present to show due respect and honour whenever it is sung or played.”
“Direct and declare that the song Vande Mataram, which played a historic role in the struggle for Indian independence, shall be honoured equally with ‘Jana Gana Mana’ and shall have equal status with it in the 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 demanded.