Plea for renaming India as ‘Bharat’ can go to Centre as representation: Supreme Court

“Bharat and India are both names given in the Constitution. India is already called ‘Bharat’ in the Constitution,” says CJI

June 03, 2020 02:35 pm | Updated 06:58 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Supreme Court of India in New Delhi. File

Supreme Court of India in New Delhi. File

The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered that a plea to change India’s name exclusively to ‘Bharat’ be converted into a representation and forwarded to the Union government for an appropriate decision.

“Bharat and India are both names given in the Constitution. India is already called ‘Bharat’ in the Constitution”, Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad A. Bobde orally said in a virtual court hearing.

The petitioner, Namah , through his counsel, said ‘India’ is a name of foreign origin. The name can be traced back to the Greek term ‘Indica’.

Counsel said, “The word ‘Bharat’ is closely associated to our Freedom Struggle. The cry was ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’.”

The court said the petition be transformed into a representation and forwarded to the ministries, primarily the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The petition seeks an amendment to Article 1 of the Constitution, which says “India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States...”. It wants ‘India’ to be struck off from the Article.

“This will ensure citizens of this country to get over the colonial past and instil a sense of pride in our nationality. Will also justify the hard fought freedom by our freedom fighters”, it said.

2016 petition

The apex court had dismissed a similar petition in 2016 . Then CJI T.S. Thakur orally remarked that every Indian had the right to choose between calling his country ‘Bharat’ or ‘India’ and the Supreme Court had no business to either dictate or decide for a citizen what he should call his country.

“If you want to call this country Bharat, go right ahead and call it Bharat. If somebody chooses to call this country India, let him call it India. We will not interfere,” he had said.

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