The Bombay High Court on Wednesday refused to grant any relief to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in a complaint seeking action against her for allegedly disrespecting the national anthem at an event here in 2022.
A single bench of Justice Amit Borkar dismissed the application filed by Banerjee challenging a sessions court’s order of January 2023 remitting the matter back to the magistrate’s court for inquiry and on the issue of issuance of summons.
Banerjee in her application said the sessions court, instead of quashing the summons and remitting the matter, ought to have quashed the entire complaint.
Justice Borkar, however, noted there was illegality in the sessions court’s order and hence the HC need not interfere.
A magistrate’s court in March 2022 issued a summons to Banerjee on the complaint filed by activist Vivekanand Gupta alleging that during a public function at Yashwantrao Chavan Auditorium at Cuffe Parade in Mumbai, Banerjee had started singing the National Anthem in the sitting position, and later standing up and singing two verses before abruptly stopping and leaving the venue.
The West Bengal chief minister had challenged the summons before the special court.
In January 2023, Special Judge R N Rokade set aside the summons issued by the magistrate on procedural grounds and asked the magistrate to consider the complaint afresh.
In her application in the HC, Banerjee challenged this order claiming that the summons ought to have been quashed instead of directing the magistrate to consider the same afresh.
Gupta in his complaint claimed that Banerjee’s acts amounted to an insult and disrespect to the national anthem, and hence they are an offence under the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act of 1971.
He had lodged a complaint in the Cuffe Parade police station but moved the court of the metropolitan magistrate after the police failed to take any action.