Vande Mataram must in schools: Supreme Court asks Centre to respond
The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a notice to the Centre on a petition that asked the government to make singing Vande Mataram, the national song, mandatory in schools.
The Centre has four weeks to respond, and the next date of hearing is on August 23.
On a separate petition on the national anthem, the Centre told the top court respect for the anthem was non-negotiable and it was unfortunate that some people want to disrespect it.
The court has allowed the petitioner in the case to modify the plea demanding a law to punish those who disrespect the national anthem.
In February, the top court rejected the plea filed by senior Supreme Court advocate Ashwini Upadhyay seeking direction to give equal respect to the national song as given to the national anthem and observed there was no concept of a national song under the law.
Upadhyay had earlier filed a plea in the apex court seeking directions to the Centre for issuing a policy to promote and propagate the national anthem, national flag and national song.
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 Article 51A.
In November last year, the Supreme Court had ordered cinema halls across the country to mandatorily play the national anthem and directed all those present to stand up and show respect.
Later, it modified its November 30 order by exempting the physically challenged from standing up while the national anthem was played before film screenings.
Days after the November order, there were reports of moviegoers being assaulted and arrested for not standing during the anthem in states such as Tamil Nadu and Kerala.