Mumbai: A metropolitan magistrate court at Mazgaon in Mumbai issued summons to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, for disrespecting the national anthem. Advocate Vivekanand Gupta, Secretary, BJP Mumbai, had filed a complaint against her on 1st December 2021 after she was seen “showing utter disrespect to the national anthem” by allegedly singing it while in a sitting position and then “abruptly stopping after 4 or 5 lines”. On 1st December 2021, Mamata was present as a guest in a public function organized at Y B Chavan Auditorium in south Mumbai, where the incident happened.
The metropolitan magistrate has observed that Mamata has prima facie committed an offence punishable under section 3 of the Prevention of Insult to National Honour Act, 1971. This section prescribes punishment of up to three years imprisonment or fine or both for intentionally preventing someone from singing the Indian National Anthem or causing a disturbance.
In his order, the metropolitan magistrate P I Mokashi has 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 a sitting position, and later on, she stood up and sang two more verses and abruptly stopped singing and left the venue.”
The magistrate himself watched the evidence video on a laptop and ruled that the event was not a government function or any official program, and even though she is a CM, she was not discharging her official duties. Therefore, no prior sanction is needed to proceed against her and there is no bar on the same. Advocate Gupta cited a judgment given by the Bombay High Court in February 2021 to prove that the offence is cognizable and non-bailable. The magistrate found that the evidence on record was sufficient to issue a process against the West Bengal chief minister. The court has now posted the matter for further hearing on March 2.