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Both ‘Jana Gana Mana’ and ‘Vande Mataram’ stand on the same level: Centre informs Delhi HC

In a petition requesting equal status for Vande Mataram and for it to be played in all educational institutions on working days, the Centre notified the Delhi High Court that both the national anthem and the national song had “sanctity and deserved equal respect.”

The writ suit filed in the Delhi High Court seeks to grant Vande Mataram the same status as Jana Gana Mana in the spirit of Dr. Rajendra Prasad’s address to the Constituent Assembly on January 24, 1950. According to Prasad, the national song “has played a historic role in the battle for Indian freedom and will be honoured equally with Jana Gana Mana and have equal rank with it.”

The petition further claims that the national song is a symbol of India’s history, sovereignty, unity, and pride, and that disrespecting it is an anti-social act that “would also spell doom to all our rights and our very existence as citizens of a sovereign nation.” The case is scheduled to be heard by the HC on November 9.

According to the Centre, the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971, makes “preventing the singing of the National Anthem or creating disruptions to any gathering engaged in such singing” a serious offence. However, the government has not created any such punitive measures for the song, and “no directives have been issued laying forth the circumstances under which it may be sung or performed.”

The Centre has stated in its affidavit that the national anthem and national song are on the same level, but the issue cannot be resolved by a writ petition before the court.

It has also proposed that all citizens pay equal respect to both. The affidavit claims that “the national song occupies a unique and particular position in the emotions and psyche of the people of India.” The Centre also cited a 2017 Supreme Court decision in Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay Vs. Union of India & Ors, in which the petition requested the formulation of a national policy to promote and spread the national anthem, national song, and national flag.

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