The Supreme court has refused to consider the demand to change the official name of ‘India’ to ‘Bharat’. The Public Interest Litigation filed in the apex court sought the constitution of India to be amended to retain only “Bharat” and exclude “India” from the official name of the country under Article 1.
A petitioner named Namah had put this demand in the apex court. He described himself as a farmer by profession. He argued that after using ‘Bharat’ as an official name of the country there will be a communication of self-respect among the people. The name ‘India’ was kept by the British which should be avoided from using now.
The petitioner had also cited the debate in the constituent assembly that framed the constitution of the country. It was told that many members were in favour of naming the country as Bharat. He mentioned that after that long struggle for independence the country should be freed from the name given by the Britishers. It is also a symbol of slavery. Apart from ‘Bharat’, those members had also suggested names like Bharatbhumi, Bharatvarsha, Hind, Hindustan as alternative names but couldn’t be agreed. The introduction of Bharat in the constitution of India has been written as ‘India that is Bharat’.
It is mentioned in the plea that the time has come that country should not be named as ‘India that is Bharat’ but only as Bharat. In recent years, he also cited changing the names of cities according to the Indian cities and tradition and culture.
“Not the job of court,” says CJI SA Bobde
The Bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde, comprising Justice AS Bopanna and Rishikesh Rai. The three judges heard the case through video conferencing from their homes. As soon as the advocate Ashvin Vaish started to argue on behalf of the petitioner, the CJI asked, “Why did you move here? It is not the job of the court to consider such issues.”
On this, the petitioner’s lawyer said that the case is important. He said that it is necessary to change the name written in Article 1(1) of the constitution for the national self-respect. The court should consider this. Chief justice said, “You are saying that the official name of the country should be changed to Bharat. But the name Bharat is already there in the constitution.”
The lawyer said, “The name India derives from the Greek word Indica. The official use of this name derived from a foreign language should be discontinued.” On this CJI said, “In this way, the government and parliament decide in the case. You go and give the memorandum to the government. Reassure it with your arguments.”