Bharat, Not India? Supreme Court Won't Intervene, Says Centre Can Decide

A Delhi-based businessman, Namaha, filed the petition calling for the country's renaming into "Bharat" or "Hindustan" saying India symbolized "slave mentality".

Bharat, Not India? Supreme Court Won't Intervene, Says Centre Can Decide

"We can't do that. India is already called Bharat in constitution," the Supreme Court said.

Highlights

  • A Delhi-based businessman, Namaha, filed the petition
  • "India is already called Bharat in constitution," top court said
  • The Supreme Court had dismissed a similar petition in 2016
New Delhi:

On a petition asking for the name India to be discarded in favour of "Bharat", the Supreme Court today refused to intervene but said the government can treat it as a representation.

A Delhi-based businessman, Namaha, filed the petition calling for the country's renaming into "Bharat" or "Hindustan" saying India symbolized "slave mentality".

"We can't do that. India is already called Bharat in constitution," Chief Justice of India SA Bobde said.

The Chief Justice, however, said the "particular petition is directed to be treated as representation by the appropriate ministries". Meaning, the petition can make a representation to the government on his request.

The petitioner's argument was that the name "India" had not been derived from within the country; it is a name of Greek origin born from the word "Indica".

Rechristening to Bharat will "help citizens of this country get over the colonial past," the petition said, referring to the chant "Bharat Mata Ki Jai" being used throughout the nation's history.

"The removal of the English name, though appears symbolic, will instill a sense of pride in our own nationality, especially for the future generations to come. In fact, the word India being replaced with Bharat would justify the hard fought freedom by our ancestors," it said.

The Supreme Court had dismissed a similar petition in 2016.
After the country's independence, the constitution adopted two names, India and Bharat, after much debate.

British India was known as Hindustan, but some members of the constituent assembly opposed it. During the debates, BR Ambedkar, who drafted the constitution, argued that the country was known worldwide as India and that should be retained.

Finally, as a middle path, Article 1(1) of the constitution said: "India that is Bharat shall be a Union of the States".

The latest petition wants just "Bharat" to be retained.