Mansi Tiwari

Shri Vaishnav Vidyapeeth Vishwavidyalaya

  • DATE OF JUDGEMENT – 11\08\1986


  • CITATION – 1987 AIR 748
  • Abstract
  • The case discussed in this article is Bijoe Emmanuel vs. State of Kerala.
  • In this case we will be discussing the one of the most famous cases of India which is related to the National Anthem. A National Anthem of the country tells the story struggles, traditional and the people of the country. It is generally a song which is patriotic, a musical composition which is officially recognized by the government or the constitution of the country. The case is related to the expulsion of the students from the school on the reason of not singing National Anthem.
  • The facts of the case are mentioned below:
  • There was three students Bijou, Binu Mol and Bindu Emmanuel, who studied in the school of the Kerala. They sincerely attend school and participate in all the activities of the school like all other students.
  • But they do not sing National Anthem, along with the other students but always stood in attention position as a respect. Because they followed the Jenovah religious faith in which singing other religious patriotism song is not allowed.
  • However, their two elder sisters also studied in the same school and followed the same practice and nobody ever noticed or objected to it.
  • One day in July 1985, a member of the legislative assembly of Kerala attended the school assembly and noticed that the 3 children were not singing the National Anthem and he thought it as a behavior of unpatriotic and not showing respect to National Anthem.
  • He raised the question on this type of behavior by students in the Assembly and a commission was set up to investigate into the matter. In its report the commission said that the behavior of students doesn’t show disrespect to the National Anthem and the act was also law abiding.
  • However, the Head Mistress expelled the students from the school on the command of the Deputy Inspector of Schools. 
  • The father of the children requested the headmistress to expel his children until the matter is solved by court or court gives the order of the same.
  • The children do not have any problem with the language or the feelings proposed by the National Anthem. The reason of not singing the National Anthem was only their belief and conviction that their religion did not permit them to join any rituals except it be in their prayers to Jehovah, their God.
  • Since the appellants were prevented from attending the school, they sought a restraining order passed by the relevant authorities. However, their writ petition was first rejected by a single learned judge and then the division bench of the Kerala High Court also rejected their petition.


  1. Article 19(1)(a) guarantees to all the citizens of India freedom of speech and expression.
  2. Article 19(2) provides that nothing in Article 19(1)(a) shall prevent a State from making any law, imposing reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the right conferred by Article 19(1)(a) in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of INDIA, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court, defamation of any person or incitement to any offence.

3.Furthermore, Article 25 provides freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practice and propagate religion.

  1. And it is expressly subjects the right guaranteed by it to public order, morality and health and to the other provisions of Part III.
  2. The state is also given the liberty to make a law to restrict the freedoms on a valid and lawful ground.
  3. Article 51A provides that- It shall be the duty of every citizen of India: to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem.


According to the Prevention of Insults to National Honor Act: “Whoever, intentionally prevents the singing of the Indian National Anthem or causes disturbance to any assembly engaged in such singing shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.

  • In the above case it can be seen that the children were neither preventing or causing disturbance to the assembly while singing the National Anthem.


  • The children filed a writ petition in the High Court for restraining the authorities from preventing the children to attend school. The writ petition was first rejected by a single learned judge and then the division bench also rejected case.
  • The reasoning of the Kerala High Court behind its rejecting the plea was that children were not paying honor to the National Anthem and only standing in the assembly, not singing it also comes under unpatriotic act. 


  • Then the appeal was made into the Supreme Court and the apex court reviewed the whole proceedings by the commission and the High Court. And it was held that the petitioners did not sing the Anthem but they always stood in the attention position to show their respect to the National Anthem. In their defense the children said that their religion did not permit them to join in any such rituals except it be in their prayers to Jehovah, their God.
  • The Supreme Court in this judgement held that, Article 19(a), which guarantees freedom of speech, and Article 25, which provides the right to freedom of conscience to freely profess, practice and propagate religion are fundamental rights which are guaranteed to every citizen of India.
  • Further in this case compelling the children to sing National Anthem when they were already showing respect towards it clearly breaches their fundamental right under Article 25 of the Constitution.
  • So, in this case, the Supreme Court held that the three students were not guilty for singing National Anthem meanwhile as to show their respect they stand in the attention position.


The reasoning behind the judgement was that there is no law in the country which compels the citizens to sing the National Anthem as long as it is not infringing others duties. The Constitution gives everyone their right to freedom of conscience and profess and the act done by the children comes under it. Hence, they cannot be held liable for their act. 

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