Mumbai court summons West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee for ‘disrespecting’ national anthem

Mumbai: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has been summoned by a Mumbai court in a criminal complaint filed by BJP leader Vivekananda Gupta alleging that she has insulted the national anthem.

Gupta claimed in his complaint that Mamata Banerjee sat down and started singing the national anthem at the end of a public function at Yashwantrao Chavan Auditorium in Mumbai’s Cuffe Parade. The Bar and Bench reported that she later stood up and sang two verses of the national anthem before stopping abruptly and exiting the venue.

According to the complaint, Gupta came to know about this when he saw a video recording of it on social media.

He claimed that the act by the Chief Minister of West Bengal was “insulting and disrespecting the national anthem” and an offense punishable under the Prevention of Insults to National Honor Act, 1971. Later, Gupta filed a complaint at the Cuffe Parade police station. However, after no action was taken by the police, he lodged a complaint before the Metropolitan Magistrate at Sewri, Mumbai, the report said.

After that, Magistrate PI Mokashi perused the complaint and submitted video. “It is prima facie clear from the complaint, the verification statement of the complainant, the video clip in the DVD and the video clip on the YouTube link that the accused (Banerjee) sang the national anthem and suddenly stopped and left the dias which prima facie proves that Banerjee was committed. (offence) punishable under section 3 of the Prevention of Insults to National Honor Act,” the magistrate noted in the order.

Magistrate PI Mokashi concluded that the ceremony attended by Mamata Banerjee was not an official government function, therefore, she was not discharging any official duties while attending the function and as a result, criminal proceedings were initiated against her. No approval was required to do so.

“There is no reason to adjourn the proceedings against Banerjee under section 202 of the Code of Criminal Procedure even though she is residing at a place beyond the jurisdiction (of the court),” the order said.

After there was sufficient evidence to summon the TMC leader, the magistrate issued an order to summon Mamata Banerjee to appear on March 2, 2022.

First published:February 2, 2022, 5:06 pm

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