On Wednesday, the Supreme Court asked the Central Government to consider a writ petition seeking permission to change the country's name as "Bharat" from "India" as a reference, and to make a decision on it.
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, who appeared for Namaha, submitted the name "India" 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 plea said, "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".
Petitioner argued that the Union of India had refused to do away with the name "India," which is a "slavery symbol." He notes that this 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".