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Supreme Court of India on 24 April 2015, issued notice on a Public Interest Litigation petition which seeks to change the name of the country from ‘India’ to ‘Bharat’.

Case Number Writ Petition (Civil) No. 203 of 2015
Case Title Niranjan Bhatwal v. Union of India and Others.

The petition has been filed by Niranjan Bhatwal who claims to be a social activist from Maharashtra.


Background

Article 1 of the Constitution of India provides:

1. Name and territory of the Union

(1) India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States…


Prayer

Bhatwal’s petition inter alia seeks:

  • The name of the country be recognised as Bharat instead of India;
  • Union and State Governments be restrained from using the name of India for any government purposes and in official papers;
  • The non- government organisations and corporates also be directed to use ‘Bharat’ for all official and unofficial purposes.

Grounds

  • The petition raises a question that whether the insertion of India in ‘Article 1 of the Constitution’ was just for the purpose reference, in order to repeal the Government of India Act 1935, and the Indian Independence Act 1947, wherein the country had been referred to as India, and sought to be repealed by Article 395 of the Constitution.

395. Repeals

The Indian Independence Act, 1947 , and the Government of India Act, 1935 , together with all enactment s amending or supplementing the latter Act, but not including the Abolition of Privy Council Jurisdiction Act, 1949 , are hereby repealed

  • Petition also raises a question whether insertion of ‘India’ was merely for the purpose of making a reference for the de-jure recognition of the country by countries of other parts of the world for diplomatic purposes.
  • Petition asks whether Hindi language excerpts of Article 1 – clause 1 of the Constitution of India denote the same meaning, as it denotes in the English language of the Constitution in relation to establish the name of the country.

Order

download-order24 April 2015

The matter was listed before the bench comprising of Chief Justice of India HL Dattu and Justice Arun Mishra. The bench issued notice to the Union of India and the States and has sought their response on the Petition.

Courtesy: Press Trust of India/IBN

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