NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court today dismissed a plea seeking direction to the Centre to declare ”Vande Mataram” the national anthem, at par with “Jana Gana Mana”, or the national song.
A bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar said it finds no reason to entertain this petition, while exercising its powers under Article 226 of the Constitution.
“We see no reason to give direction to the respondent (Centre) to declare Vande Mataram as national anthem or national song,” the bench said.
During the hearing, when the bench pointed out that ”Vande Mataram” was already the national song and the petitioner must be aware of it, Upadhyay said this is the “gap/vacuum. It is not the national song and my prayer is that either it be treated as the national anthem or the national song by way of notification”.
The plea, filed by BJP leader and lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, wanted that ”Vande Mataram”, written by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, be given the same respect as the national anthem, ”Jana Gana Mana” penned by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore.
In his plea, Upadhyay had said that the national song played a vital role in the Independence movement and was first sung in a political context by Rabindranath Tagore at the 1896 session of the Indian National Congress.
“Both the ”Jana Gana Mana” and ”Vande Mataram” have to be equally respected. The sentiments expressed in ”Jana Gana Mana” have been expressed keeping the State in view.
“However, the sentiments expressed in ”Vande Mataram” denote the nation’s character and style and deserves similar respect,” the petition had contended.
It had sought a declaration that ”Vande Mataram” shall be honoured equally with the song ”Jana Gana Mana” and shall have an equal status with it.
Apart from that, the petition had also sought a direction to the central government to frame a national policy to promote and propagate both the national anthem and the national song.
It had also urged the court to direct the government to ensure both songs are sung in all schools on every working day.
This is not the first time such a petition has been moved in the high court.
In October 2017, a PIL was filed in the Delhi High Court seeking a direction to treat the national song at par with the national anthem.
The court had dismissed the petition after the central government had opposed the plea saying ”Vande Mataram” occupies a “unique and special place” in the psyche of Indians but it cannot be treated at par with ”Jana Gana Mana”.