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Karnataka High Court dismisses petition challenging state anthem tune

The High Court has dismissed a petition filed by singer Kikkeri Krishnamurthy questioning the September 25, 2022 state government order for the rendition of ‘Jayabharatha Jananiya Tanujate’ in the tune composed by Mysuru Ananthaswany.
Last Updated : 25 April 2024, 19:53 IST
Last Updated : 25 April 2024, 19:53 IST

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The High Court has dismissed a petition filed by singer Kikkeri Krishnamurthy questioning the September 25, 2022 state government order for the rendition of ‘Jayabharatha Jananiya Tanujate’ in the tune composed by Mysuru Ananthaswany. The tune for 2 minutes and 30 seconds was selected as the state anthem.

According to the petitioner, ever since Rashtrakavi Kuvempu’s ‘Bharatha Jananiya Thanujate’ was chosen and officially declared as the state anthem in 2004, the entire state has been singing the tune composed by C Ashwath. It was his submission that Mysore Ananthaswamy had not composed the complete/full tune of the state anthem.

Justice Krishna S Dixit noted that no right of the petitioner, much less his fundamental right to speech and expression constitutionally guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) or his occupational rights secured under Article 19(1)(g) have been infringed even by any stretch of imagination.

“Therefore, his contention that the impugned order constitutes an unreasonable restriction, does not merit acceptance. The question of adjudging the reasonableness of restriction does arise only when the substantive right and its curtailment are demonstrated.  However, such demonstration is lacking in this case,” the court said.

Regarding the tune, the court noted that the prescription of a particular raga was preceded by a study by a High-level Six-member Committee comprising experts in the field. The committee was constituted by the government by an official order dated September 9, 2021, and was headed by Dr Siddalingaiah.

“Since 2000, Japanese courts have affirmed school administrators’ power to order even teachers to sing the National Anthem and to discipline them for refusing to sing. If singing the National Anthem ‘Jana Gana Mana’ in a particular tune is imperative, drawing an analogy from the same one can, without the risk of contradiction, state that singing the State Anthem in a specified raga cannot be faltered,” the court said. 

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Published 25 April 2024, 19:53 IST

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