A Division Bench of the Allahabad High Court has reportedly directed Secretaries of all departments of the State Government to ensure the hoisting of the national flag and reciting of the national anthem in all institutions controlled or aided by the state on Independence Day and Republic Day.
The Bench, comprising Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice Yashwant Verma observed that hoisting of national flag and reciting of national anthem on August 15 and January 26 were “constitutional duty of all citizens”. Therefore, it said, the state must ensure that these took place at all institutions.
The Court was hearing a PIL filed by Mr. Ajeet Gaur, seeking a mandamus to the State Government to ensure that all Madarsas in the State of Uttar Pradesh conduct the flag hoisting ceremony on the occasion of Independence Day and Republic Day. He had averred that Madarsas in the State are recognized by the Board constituted under Section 3 of the Uttar Pradesh Board of Madarsa Education Act, 2004.
The Standing Counsel had relied on the instructions received by him from the Collector of Aligarh in which it had been stated that in his district, on the occasion of these national events, all Madarsas do observe the flag hoisting ceremony. No evidence had been placed before the Court to indicate that any particular institution had not observed the flag hosting ceremony.
Earlier on September 1, the Court had directed the Standing Counsel to file a counter affidavit within a period of three weeks, setting out the regime of instructions of the education department of the State which is already in place. “Every educational institution irrespective of affiliation-religious or otherwise, must foster adherence to constitutional values: democracy, liberty, equality, secularism and the integrity of the nation,” the Court had observed.
The Court had also taken note of a counter affidavit filed by the Principal Secretary of the State’s Minority Welfare Department which said that such instructions had already been issued, in order to ensure that such ceremonies take place on the aforementioned days at all educational institutions meant for religious minorities.