CHENNAI: Though the Supreme Court is yet to decide if Vande Mataram qualifies as a national song, the Madras High Court on Tuesday imposed an obligation on citizens to play and sing it at all educational institutions at least once a week. “The national song ‘Vande Mataram’ shall be played and sung in all Government Offices and Institutions/Private companies/ Factories and industries at least once a Month,” added the order by judge M V Muralidharan.
Last year, the Supreme Court mandated playing the national anthem ahead of shows in movie theaters, inviting criticism from various quarters. The apex court then inferred the “respect” mentioned in the Constitution as people standing in silence when anthem is played. But Madras High Court’s Friday order takes it a step further. It mandates not just standing in silence, but also singing of the song that does not enjoy special status in the Constitution.
Tuesday’s order is also in sharp contrast with the landmark verdict passed by the Supreme Court in 1986 in the Bijoe Emmanuel case. A three-member bench elaborated how singing of the national anthem, despite the Constitutional status it enjoys, is not compulsory and a mere show of respect when played would suffice.