5 Nov 2022 4:08 AM GMT
The Centre has told Delhi High Court that both Jana Gana Mana and Vande Mataram stand on the same level and that every citizen of the country should show equal respect to both. "National song occupies a unique and special place in the emotions and psyche of the people of India," the Ministry of Home Affairs said in its response to a PIL moved by BJP Leader and Advocate Ashwini Kumar...
The Centre has told Delhi High Court that both Jana Gana Mana and Vande Mataram stand on the same level and that every citizen of the country should show equal respect to both.
"National song occupies a unique and special place in the emotions and psyche of the people of India," the Ministry of Home Affairs said in its response to a PIL moved by BJP Leader and Advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay seeking same status for national anthem and national song.
The MHA in the reply further said that the act of preventing singing of national song or causing disturbances to any assembly engaged in such singing was made punishable under Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971.
However, it added that similar provisions have not been made by the government in the case of the national song 'Vande Mataram' and no instructions have been issued laying down the circumstances in which the national song may be sung or played.
"The National Anthem and the National Song both have its sanctity and deserve equal respect. However, the subject matter of the present proceedings can never be a subject matter seeking writ of the Hon'ble High Court more particularly in view of the settled position mentioned hereunder," the reply reads.
The Centre has referred to a 2017 judgement of the Supreme Court in Upadhyay's case regarding framing of a national policy to promote and propagate the National Anthem, National Song and National Flag. The Apex Court had said that "we do not intend to enter into any debate as far as the National Song is concerned."
The union government has also referred to an earlier decision of the Delhi High Court wherein it dismissed a similar plea while taking note of the apex court decision in Upadhyay's 2017 case.
Stating the PIL is not adversarial, the Centre has reserved its right to file any additional response, if necessary, for assisting the court in proper adjudication of the issues raised.
"That the averments in different paragraphs of the Petition are in the nature of historical developments discussions in the Constituent Assembly, previous litigations and individual suggestions which require deliberation at the administrative and judicial level before the same can be imbibed into the system, subject to the constitutional or the legal mandate. The rest of the contents of the petition are Question of Law, Ground taken by the Petitioner for supporting his petition and making out a case," the reply adds.
Upadhyay in the PIL seeks a declaration that the song 'Vande Mataram' "be honoured equally" with the national anthem 'Jana-Gana-Mana'. He has sought guidelines for the national song to give it same honour and status at par with the national anthem.
The plea also seeks direction to Centre and State Governments to ensure that both national anthem and national song are played and sung in all schools and educational institutions on every working day.
In May, the court had expressed its displeasure to Upadhyay for publicising the filing of the petition in the media. Nevertheless, noting that he had expressed his regret and was involved in filing several petitions in "public interest", notice was issued to the respondents.
Case Title: ASHWINI KUMAR UPADHYAY v. UNION OF INDIA & OTHERS