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Bharat, that is not “India”?

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Ayushi Verma, Ground Report:

After an intense debate in the Constituent Assembly, two names were adopted for our country, India and Bharat. After more than 70 years a new debate came up as a petition was filed in the Supreme Court seeking removal of ‘India’ as the name of the country. The plea was in support to keep just Bharat as the solitary identity of the nation. The petitioner, Namah – a resident of Delhi, has sought to amend Article 1 of the Constitution, which names the country and defines its territories. Supreme Court on wednesday rejected the plea seeks to change the country’s name to “Bharat” only.

Article 1 (1) of the Constitution reads, India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States. The petitioner says the name “India” is a “symbol of slavery” while seeking to recognise “Bharat” or “Hindustan” as the only name for the country. His counsel also said that the word India is a symbol of slavery and is linked to the Greek term ‘Indica’.

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Counsel defending the plea, said the word Bharat is closely associated to struggle for freedom and its “jaikara” is called as “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”. Petitioner quoted from constituent assembly debates to support his argument in favour of changing the name.

He also referred to the changed name of places over the years. Petitioner also said, there are different names on different documents of India like Aadhar Card says ‘Bharat Sarkaar’ driving licence says ‘Union of India’, passport says ‘Republic of India’ so there should be a single name of nation.

On wednesday, 2nd june a bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, comprising Justices A S Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy asked the petitioner’s counsel, “Why have you come here? India is already called Bharat in the Constitution”. Advocate Ashwin Vaish, appearing for the Delhi-based petitioner, argued that the appeal seeked amendment to Article 1 of the Constitution.

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CJI said, we can’t do that as India is already called Bharat in Constitution and all the citizens of India have right to choose the name they want to call the country.

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