New Delhi: The Delhi high court on Monday (July 22) received a plea seeking directions from the Centre to frame a policy to equally propagate India's national anthem and the national song, Vande Mataram.

The plea, filed by BJP leader and lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, has sought that Vande Mataram, written by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, should be given the same respect as the national anthem Jana Gana Mana, penned by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore.

In his plea, which is likely to be heard on Tuesday (July 23), Upadhyay has said that the national song played a vital role in the Independence movement, and was first sung in a political context by Rabindranath Tagore at the 1896 session of the Indian National Congress.

Speaking to MyNation,  Ashwini Upadhyay said, "Both - Jana Gana Mana and Vande Mataram - have to be equally respected. The sentiments expressed in our national anthem have been expressed keeping the states in mind."

"There is a gap. Presently, Vande Mataram does not have the legal sanction and no legal status, which means, Jana Gana Mana is important to people but not Vande Mataram. During freedom struggle, all were seen raising slogans like Vande Mataram and Bharat Mata ki Jai. Our national anthem had no role in our freedom struggle," he added.

The plea seeks a declaration that Vande Mataram should be honoured equally with Jana Gana Mana and shall have equal status.

That apart, the petition also seeks a direction to the Central government to frame a national policy to promote and propagate both, national anthem and the national song.

The plea also urged the court to direct the government to ensure both songs are sung in all schools on every working day.

In October 2017, a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed in the Delhi high court seeking a direction to treat the national song at par with the national anthem.

The court, however, dismissed the petition after the Central government had opposed the plea saying Vande Mataram occupies a "unique and special place" in the psyche of Indians but it cannot be treated at par with Jana Gana Mana.