Singing of Vande Mataram: court leaves it to government, Tamil Nadu
Credit – The Hindu
Lawyers brought it to the notice of the judge that the song was originally penned in Bengali and Single judge’s order making singing of national song compulsory modified
A Division Bench of the Madras High Court has modified an order passed by a single judge on July 25 making it compulsory to play and sing the national song Vande Mataram in all educational institutions, government offices as well as private establishments. The Bench left it to the discretion of the government to take a decision on the issue.
Disposing of a writ appeal, Justices Huluvadi G. Ramesh and RMT. Teekaa Raman said: “We are of the view that since it is a policy decision to be taken by the State (legislature or the executive), in modification of the order of the learned single judge, we leave it to the discretion of the government to take a decision in the matter.” Justice M.V. Muralidaran had ordered that Vande Mataram should be played and sung in all educational institutions at least once a week and at least once a month in government as well as private establishments. The Chief Secretary was directed to issue appropriate instructions in this regard to the authorities concerned.
The single judge had also directed the Director of Information and Public Relations to upload on the State government’s website and circulate in the social media, translated versions of the national song in Tamil as well as English so that it helps the people to sing it properly without any dilution of the lyrics.
“In the event any person/organisation has difficulty in singing or playing the national song, he or she shall not be compelled or forced to sing it, provided there are valid reasons for not doing so,” the judge had clarified in his order related to awarding of marks for a question related to the national song in the Teachers Eligibility Test conducted in 2013.
One of the candidates, K. Veeramani, had approached the court accusing the Teachers Recruitment Board (TRB) of not having awarded any mark for the question: “In which language the song Vande Mataram was written first?” despite the writ petitioner having answered it correctly as Bengali.
During the course of hearing of the case, some of the lawyers brought it to the notice of the judge that the song was originally penned down as Bondey Matorom by Bongkim Chondro Chottoapadhyay in Bengali and it was subsequently translated into Sanskrit as Vande Mataram. The TRB also accepted the submission.
Hence, the judge ordered award of one additional mark to the writ petitioner and went on to state: “Several people have sacrificed their lives and families in the struggle for independence that prolonged for several decades. In these tough times, it was songs like our national song Vande Mataram which created a sense of belief and confidence in the people.”
Referring to an order passed by the Supreme Court last year making it compulsory for cinema theatres to play the national anthem, Mr. Justice Muralidaran said: “Likewise, it would be desirable that the national song Vande Mataram is also sung by citizens from different walks of life as frequently as possible in their educational institutions/offices/workplace/ stadiums.”
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