New Delhi, June 03: The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Central Government to treat a writ petition seeking direction to change the name of the country as “Bharat” from “India” as a representation and to take a decision on the same.
A bench headed by CJI SA Bobde observed that the Court cannot pass any directions to amend the Constitution for such name change.
“We cannot do that. India is already called Bharat in the Constitution”, CJI SA Bobde said, referring to Article 1 of the Constitution.
Advocate Ashwin Vaish, appearing for the petitioner Namaha, submitted the name “India” is originated from the Greek word “indica”.
“History is riddled with examples of “Bharat Mata ki Jai” being used”, he submitted.
When the Court expressed disinclination to pass any positive directions, the counsel urged the bench to allow him to make a representation before the Centre for such purposes.
Based on that request, the Court disposed of the plea, directing the appropriate Ministry to treat the writ petition as a representation.
The SC had dismissed a similar plea in 2016.
The present petition said that the name “India” was a sign of colonial hangover, and was not authentically reflecting the cultural heritage of the country.
“The time is ripe to recognise the country by its original and authentic name, i.e. BHARAT; especially when our cities have been renamed to identify with the Indian ethos…. In fact the word India being replaced with BHARAT would justify the hard fought freedom by our ancestors”, the plea said.
Petitioner contended that there has been a failure on part of the Union of India to do away with the name “India” which is a “symbol of slavery”. He states that this has caused “injury” to the public resulting in “loss of identity and ethos as inheritors of the hard-won freedom from foreign rule”.
To substantiate his averments, the petitioner cited the Constituent Assembly debates dated November 15, 1948 while debating Article 1 of the draft of the Constitution wherein Shri M. Ananthasayanam Ayyangar had Seth Govind Das had batted for the adoption of names “Bharat, Bharat Varsha, Hindustan” instead of “India”.