New Delhi, Feb 17: The Supreme Court on Friday rejected a petition filed by Bharatiya Janta Party leader Ashwini Upadhyay seeking equal status for the National Song as that of the National Anthem. The plea sought a direction to frame a national policy to promote and propagate the national anthem, national song and national flag in the spirit of the Article 51 A. Article 51 A of the Indian Constitution mandates every citizen of India to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem. However, the National Song was excluded from the premise of the fundamental duties of the citizens.

Several religious organisations have opposed singing of ‘Vande Matram’, the National Song. They argue that its recitation is in contravention with the diktats of their religion.

The National Anthem verdict

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court had also clarified that citizen were not obliged to stand if the National Anthem was played as part of a film. The court also said that people didn’t need to sing the national anthem when it was being played before the screening of a film. The apex court had earlier passed an order making it compulsory for all movie theatres to play the national anthem before each screening for what it called ‘the love of the motherland’.

A bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Dipak Misra, had passed the order while hearing the petition filed by Shyam Narayan Chouksey, seeking directions that the national anthem should be played in cinema halls across the country before a film begins. The Supreme Court had further instructed that the national anthems should be played as per the protocol which should be maintained at public places.

While pronouncing the verdict, the apex court had said, “A time has come, the citizens of the country must realize that they live in a nation and are duty bound to show respect to National Anthem, which is the symbol of the constitutional patriotism and inherent national quality.”