The Supreme Court on Friday rejected a plea by a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader to frame a national policy for “national song,” noting that the Indian Constitution doesn’t define the concept of national song. The appeal by BJP spokesperson Aswini Upadhyay sought to make “promoting and propagating” the national song as a fundamental duty of the Indian citizen.
There is no concept of a national song, English daily the Hindu quoted the Supreme Court bench as saying.
The bench reportedly noted that Article 51A, a section of the Indian Constitution that defines the fundamental duties, advises the citizens to promote and propagate the National Anthem and National Flag. BJP’s Upadhyay reportedly wanted the national song to be included in the list too, a plea which the apex court bench comprising of Justices Dipak Misra, R. Banumathi and S.M. Mallikarjunagouda reportedly rejected.
The Hindu quoted the court bench observing, “Article 51A only mentions the National Flag and the National Anthem. The Article does not refer to a national song.”
“Therefore, we do not intend to enter into any debate as far as a national song is concerned.”
‘Vande Mataram’, a patriotic song originally written in Sanskrit, is considered to India’s national song, though its status as such isn’t enshrined in the Constitution.
According to the newspaper report, the court also rejected Upadhyay’s prayer that the singing of the national anthem should be made mandatory in offices, courts, state assemblies and the Parliament.
The Hindu quoted the bench as observing, “Barring the singing of the National Anthem on schools on every working day, other prayers stand rejected.”
The standing during national anthem has been the subject of an intense debate in India in recent months, since the Supreme Court ruled in December that all movie theatres across India should play the national anthem before starting of the movie and all the movie goers have an obligation to stand during its playing. The court said the ruling was an attempt to instill “committed patriotism and nationalism.”
Sections of Indian public were reported to have issues with the ruling, which turned tad controversial after right-wing vigilante groups started patrolling movie theatres and harassing people who they found not standing during the playing of national anthem.