The Centre has told the Delhi High Court that both 'Jana Gana Mana' and 'Vande Mataram' stand on the same level and every citizen of the country should show equal respect to both.

This was in response to the PIL filed by Advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay seeking parity of treatment between the National Anthem and National Song.

In a short counter affidavit on behalf of Centre, it was stated that in 1971, the action of prevention of singing of the National Anthem or causing disturbances to any assembly engaged in such singing was made punishable offence by way of an Enactment of the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971.

It was further stated that similar penal provisions have not been made by the Government in the case of National Song' Vande Mataram'.

The Centre has further referred to an order passed by the Supreme Court regarding framing a national policy to promote and propagate the National Anthem, National Song and National Flag. The Supreme Court had observed that it doesn't intend to enter into any debate as far as the National Song is concerned.

The Centre has stated in its reply that the National song occupies a unique and special place in the emotions and psyche of the people of India.

It was further added in the counter affidavit that "…the averments in different paragraphs of the Petition are in the nature of historical developments discussions in the Constituent Assembly, previous litigations and individual suggestions which require deliberation at the administrative and judicial level before the same can be imbibed into the system, subject to the constitutional or the legal mandate."

In the instant PIL, Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay had prayed for parity of treatment between the National Anthem and National Song and also to frame guidelines for the National Song 'Vande Mataram' giving it the same honour and status at par with the National Anthem of India.

The Centre has filed its reply after the Court sought its response in May this year.

Cause Title- Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay v. Union of India & Ors.

Click here to read/download Affidavit