December 9, 2022

Mumbai court summons West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee over her alleged disrespect to National Anthem | Mumbai News – Times of India

MUMBAI: A local metropolitan magistrate in Mumbai on Tuesday issued process, or summons, to West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on a complaint filed by Mumbai secretary of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alleging that she disrespected the National Anthem.
The complaint filed by Vivekanand Gupta said the CM was on a two-day visit to Maharashtra on December 1, 2021. She was present at a public function at Y B Chavan auditorium in south Mumbai as the main speaker.
The order passed by the court of the metropolitan magistrate, Mazgaon said, “The accused was accompanied by Javed Akthar and Pawan Verma on the dais. At the end of the program the accused started singing the National Anthem in sitting position and later on she stood up and sang two more verses and abruptly stopped singing and left the venue.” The video of the event went viral on social media.
The complaint and video clip “prima facie prove” that she committed an offence under the law meant to prevent insults to national honour, said the magistrate P I Mokashi adding the “prima facie evidence brought on record is sufficient to issue process (order for her appearance to participate in the proceedings) against accused.”
Gupta alleged that her act was an insult and disrespect to the National Anthem and thus she committed an offence punishable under section 3 of the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act of 1971. He said he first filed a complaint with the Cuffe Parade police station who initiated no action and he thus approached the magistrate.
Gupta cited a February 2021 judgment of Bombay high court to show that the offence is cognizable and non-bailable.
The magistrate who heard Gupta at length also watched the video clip on a laptop and said “it reveals that the accused (Banerjee) had started singing the National Anthem in a sitting position” and that the event was “not a government function or an official” one and though she is a CM she was not discharging her official duties.
Gupta referred to a ruling of the Supreme Court restraining use of the National Anthem for any commercial exploitation.
The court said the Union home affairs ministry orders clearly specify the full or short version of the National Anthem that can be sung.
The court in its order said, “Thereby this act of the accused though she is the CM of West Bengal does not come under her official duty. Therefore sanction is not required and there is no bar to proceed against (her).”
The court saw no reason to postpone the issuance of process against Banerjee under section 202 of criminal procedure code though it observed that she is residing outside its area of jurisdiction.
The order set the next date on March 2 for the case.

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