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What The Supreme Court Said On Changing India Name To Bharat In 2016 And 2020

What The Supreme Court Said On Changing India Name To Bharat In 2016 And 2020

Amid a buzz on social media over a bid to change the country’s name, a petition seeking India be called Bharat was dismissed by the Supreme Court three years back in 2020. A similar petition was also rejected by the Supreme Court in 2016 as well.

The controversy started after the Rashtrapati Bhawan, in a first, sent out official invites to world leaders attending the G20 Summit for a dinner in the name of “President of Bharat” instead of the usual “President of India”.

The development led to a slugfest between the Opposition I.N.D.I.A alliance and the ruling BJP, with Congress accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of trying to distort history and divide the country.

READ | ‘India Is Not BJP’s Personal Property’: Oppn Slams PM Modi Over G20 Invites Featuring ‘President Of Bharat’

Countering the Opposition, Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar said that “our country’s name is Bharat and there should be no doubt about it”. “If we will not use Bharat as the name of Bharat, then what will we use?” PTI quoted Chandrasekhar as saying.

However, the demand for changing the name of ‘India’ to ‘Bharat’ is not new and petitions had come up before the Supreme Court on two occassions previously.

What Had The Supreme Court Said On Renaming ‘India’?

In 2020, a Delhi-based businessman filed a petition seeking an amendment to Article 1 of the Constitution.

As per Article 1(1), “India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States.” This is the only provision in the Constitution delaing with how the country should be called for official purposes.

In his plea, the petitioner said the name “India” was of Greek origin and came from the word “Indica”. Claiming that the English name “India” does not represent the culture and tradition of the country, the petitioner said  renaming it to “Bharat” would help citizens shed colonial baggage.

“Replacing India with Bharat will justify the hard-fought freedom achieved by our ancestors,” the plea further said.

In its verdict, while dismissing the plea, then Chief Justice of India Sharad Bobde said, “Bharat and India are both names given in the Constitution…India is already called ‘Bharat’ in the Constitution.”

A similar petition was also rejected by a Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice of India TS Thakur in 2016. The then CJI had said every Indian had the right to choose between calling the country “Bharat” or India”. The bench had said the Supreme Court cannot decide what a citizen should call the country.

How Did Article 1 Of Constitution Come Into Being?

Article 1 of the Constitution is a crucial provision specifing what our nation will be called. The draft Article 1 was adopted on September 18, 1949 by the Constituent Assembly. 

During deliberations, several suggestions came up — Bharat, Hindustan, Hind, Bharatbhumi, Bharatvarsh. Some draft committee members preferred Bharat while the other camp wanted the new name India.

The Constituent Assembly eventually gave its stamp of approval to the statement: “India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States.”

Doonited Affiliated: Syndicate News Hunt

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