New Delhi: A plea was Monday filed in the Delhi High Court seeking directions to the Centre to frame a policy to equally propagate the national anthem and the national song -- 'Vande Mataram'.
The plea, filed by BJP leader and lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, has sought 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, which is likely to be heard on Tuesday, Upadhyay has 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 State in view.
"However, the sentiments expressed in 'Vande Mataram' denote the nation's character and style and deserves similar respect," the petition contends. It seeks a declaration that 'Vande Mataram' shall be honoured equally with the song 'Jana Gana Mana' and shall have equal status with it.
Apart from that, the petition also seeks a direction to the central government to frame a national policy to promote and propagate both the national anthem and the national song. It also urges 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'.