Since its inauguration, the Emblem installed atop the Central Vista has equally caught vary sideways glances as well as uproars of appreciation. While many onlookers find the new roaring lions version of the emblem endearing and symbolic of India’s progressive march towards economic and social development, many others find it distasteful, impudent and insulting to the founding beliefs of the country. Two lawyers of the latter belief have moved to the Supreme Court claiming that the statue in question, is illegal and a gross insult to the National Symbol.
The petitioners-Advocates Aldanish Rein and Ramesh Kumar Mishra claim that the design of the State emblem installed atop the Central Vista building is in violation of the State Emblem of India (Prohibition Against Improper Use) Act of 2005.
In their plea, the lawyers have contended that the lions portrayed in the emblem inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi appear to be “ferocious and aggressive” with “mouth open and canine visible.” The petitions point out the stark difference between the sculpture installed on the Central Vista and the inspiration for the emblem-the Lion Capital of Ashoka preserved in the Sarnath Museum, in which the lions appear to be “calm and composed.”
The petitioners pointed out that the Motto “Satyameva Jayate written in Devanagari script below the profile of the Lion Capital as envisaged in the Act to be mandatory also seems missing in the newly installed emblem.”
The plea further states that altering the National Emblem’s design has “manifested gross arbitrariness in violating the sanctity of the state Emblem.” Its installation by the government without due process goes against Article 21 and is in its express violation by hurting the citizens’ right to their constitutional faith.
“The state emblem of India is the mark of the Identity of the Republic of India. Republic of India belongs to We the Indians. When this identity is interfered with, it hurts the national sentiments of its citizens,” read the plea. Per Article 14 of the Indian constitution, everyone must be treated equally under the law, when the government defaults in preserving the sanctity of the National Symbol and in its stead acts indifferent towards national sentiment, the petitioners prayed for the intervention of the Apex court.
The state emblem of India adopted on 26 January 1950, is symbolic of a free constitutional India. The emblem is an adaptation of the Sarnath Lion Capital of Ashoka, which is preserved in the Sarnath Museum.