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India’s should not remain prisoner of the past: SC

  • Published
    6th Mar, 2023

The Supreme Court while dismissing a petition which sought directions to restore the names of places changed by “foreign barbaric invaders” has mentioned that a country cannot remain a ‘prisoner of the past’.

What is the Supreme Court’s verdict?

  • The Court bench has mentioned that the focus on renaming places has been described by various politicians and public figures as “a way of correcting history”.
  • However, as the Court pointed out, one cannot wish away history. It is better to understand it in its proper context, instead of forcing contemporary debates and ideas on it.
  • An objective analysis with room for healthy debate is the need of the hour and does not force-fitting contemporary political narratives into what happened centuries ago.

Procedure for changing City Names:

At Central Level:

  • The proposals of the states would be scrutinised by the Union Home Ministry according to the existing guidelines in consultations with the agencies concerned.
  • The Ministry approves the proposal after taking no objections from the Ministry of Railways, Department of Posts and Survey of India, which confirms that there is no such city, town or village in their records with a name similar to the proposed one.
  • Then an executive order is passed on the renaming of cities.

At the state level:

  • The power to rename a city is given to the State Legislators.
  • It starts with a request by means of a resolution by any Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) which proposes to rename any specific street or city.
  • Then the resolution is discussed and deliberated upon.
  • After this, voting on the validity of the resolution is done. If there are majority votes in favour of the resolution, the said resolution shall be declared passed. If the majority of votes for a resolution are not achieved, the resolution shall fail. The majority used is a simple majority.
  • Based on the majority view the State Legislation will make the necessary changes in the name of the state or city.

Recent Changes:

  • Bangalore to Bengaluru
  • Bombay to Mumbai
  • Benaras to Varanasi
  • Gurgaon to Gurugram
  • Allahabad as Prayagraj
  • Aurangabad to Sambhaji Nagar
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