Chennai, Jul 25 (PTI) The Madras High Court today made singing of the national song ‘Vande Mataram’ mandatory in schools across Tamil Nadu at least twice a week.
Private and government schools in the state should ensure that their students sing the national song at least twice a week, preferably on Monday and Friday, Justice M V Muralidharan said, without giving reasons for the order.
He, however, cited article 226 of the Constitution which bestows on High Courts sweeping powers to pass orders within their areas of jurisdiction to any person or authority, to back his ruling.
The judge said in case any person or organisation has difficulty in singing or playing the song, they shall not be compelled or forced to sing it. They will, however, have to give valid reasons for not doing so.
Noting that the song can also be played in government and private establishments at least once a month, the judge said, “If people feel it is difficult to sing the song in Bengali or in Sanskrit, steps can be taken to translate the song in Tamil.”
The judge said, “The youth of this country are the future of tomorrow and the court hopes and trusts that this order shall be taken in the right spirit and also implemented in letter and spirit by the citizenry of this great nation.”
Interestingly, the court’s order came on a petition moved by K Veeramani, who had failed to clear the written test for recruitment of teachers.
He petitioned to the court that he could not clear the test as, replying to an objective type question, he had written that the national song was originally penned in Bengali.
The answer was declared wrong by the board and he was awarded 89 marks against the minimum 90 to be eligible for appointment.
Claiming that he had failed to get the job by just one mark due to ‘wrong’ evaluation, the petitioner had sought award of the extra mark, treating his answer as correct.
When the matter first came up on July 7, the petitioner’s counsel submitted that Bankim Chandra Chatterjee had written the national song in both Bengali and Sanskrit.
The additional government pleader, on the other hand, argued that it was penned only in Sanskrit and was later translated into Bengali.
The petitioner contended that in all the books he had read, Bengali was mentioned as the language in which the national song was originally written.
Following this, the judge had directed the Advocate General to apprise the court of the correct answer in order to settle the dispute over the linguistic origin of the song.
When the case came up on July 13, Advocate General R Muthukumaraswamy informed the court that the national song was of Sanskrit origin, but had originally been penned in Bengali by Chatterjee.