CHENNAI: Private schools must sing the national anthem and it must be made a part of the curriculum, the Chennai high court has said.
“We would expect that keeping in mind the mandate of the Constitution of India, the respect for the national anthem and the national flag, the circulars issued by the CBSE and other authorities, singing of the national anthem would be taking place in various institutions,” said the first bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice M M Sundresh on Friday .
The judges were passing orders on a PIL filed by an exserviceman, who said though Kendriya Vidyalayas, government and corporation schools were singing the national anthem at school assembly, most private schools, including best-known ones, did not do so.
Ex-serviceman K Selvathirumal said private institutions such as Velammal Vidyashram, Bhavan’s Rajaji Vidyashram, Maharishi Vidya Mandir, DAV Girls Senior Secondary School and some other top schools were not playing the national anthem during the morning assembly .
There is no rule in the affiliation bylaws or any other circulars of the CBSE that mandates playing of the national anthem, the petitioner said, adding that in reply to an RTI query he was “informed that the government of India has released an advisory for all schools that the day’s work may begin with community singing of the anthem, and adequate provisions should be made in the programmes for popularising the singing of the anthem and promoting respect for the national flag.”
Article 51A(a) of the Constitution expects citizens “to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the national flag and national anthem,” he said, adding that a citizen should have adequate knowledge of the national anthem and the national flag.
On its part, CBSE told the court that a circular wasissued on November 10, 2015, stating one of the 10 principles circulated by the Centre entailed singing of the anthem with decorum. The first principle was to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, it said. Calcutta high court had in September 2014 vide ruled that schools must strictly comply with orders relating to singing of the national anthem, it said.