Mumbai: Bengal Chief Minister and TMC chief, Mamata Banerjee, was issued a summon by a Mumbai court on Wednesday, directing the TMC chief to appear before it on March 2 for allegedly disrespecting the national anthem during her visit to the city in December 2021. The veteran leader had allegedly not stood up when the national anthem was played at the event she was attending.
Although Mamata Banerjee is a Chief Minister, “a sanction is not required and there is no bar to proceed against the accused” since she was not discharging her official duty, the court said.
Mumbai BJP unit functionary Vivekanand Gupta had approached the metropolitan magistrates’ court in December 2021 with a complaint, accusing Mamata Banerjee of disrespecting the national anthem. He also demanded that an FIR be registered against her.
The court said it is evident from the complaint, verification statement of the complainant, video clip in the DVD, and video clips on YouTube that the accused sang the national anthem and stopped abruptly and left the dais. This proves that the accused has committed an offence punishable under Section 3 of the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971.
“Though the accused is the chief minister of West Bengal, she was not discharging her official duties (during the event in Mumbai). Thereby, this act of the accused, though she is the chief minister of West Bengal, does not come under her official duty. Therefore, a sanction is not required and there is no bar to proceed against the accused,” the court said.
Mamata Banerjee was on a visit to Mumbai last year during which she met leaders of the ruling Shiv Sena and the Nationalist Congress Party in Maharashtra.
Vivekananda Gupta had claimed Ms Banerjee violated the Home Ministry’s 2015 order which states that whenever the national anthem is played or sung, the audience must stand to attention.