Mumbai: The Centre has sought to put a lid on the controversy over the words ‘Sindh’ and ‘Sindhu’ in the national anthem and told the Bombay High Court that both the usages were correct.

The Union Home Ministry submitted an affidavit before the High Court saying both the versions of national anthem with the word ‘Sindhu’ used for playing or singing and the version in the text which uses the word ‘Sindh’ are correct.

The case will come up for hearing on Friday after the Court pulled up the Centre for not giving the correct position.

The affidavit was filed by the Union Ministry in reply to a public interest litigation filed by retired professor Shreekanth Malushte challenging use of the word ‘Sindh’ in the national anthem.

The MHA in its affidavit has however claimed that the word ‘Sindh’ and ‘Sindhu’ mean the same and may be referred to either the river or the Sindhi community.

"The word ‘Sindh’ and ‘Sindhu’ both refer to either the river or the Sindhi community. The anthem is not a chronicle which defines territory of the nation and does not enlist the states or regional areas which was part of India at the point of time when it was written," the affidavit states.

The Home Ministry affidavit referred to a judgment given by the Supreme Court in May 2005 dismissing a petition filed seeking deletion of the word ‘Sindh’ and replacing it with ‘Kashmir’.

Claiming that it is not necessary that the anthem has to be modified every time there is a territorial change in the country, the Government stated that deletion of the word ‘Sindh’ will be against the circular issued by the ministry and would also amount to contempt of Apex Court judgment.

"The national anthem is sung and broadcast as per instructions issued by MHA through a circular in November 1953 which mentions the word ‘Sindh’.

"The anthem is also given in the booklet titled ‘Our National Song’ published by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in November 1951 which mentions the word ‘Sindhu’," the affidavit filed by Pradeep Kumar Pandey, Under Secretary of Home Ministry, said.

It claims that the use of the word ‘Sindh’ in the national anthem appearing in the website of the Government of India is not wrong and that the booklet issued by the Information and Broadcasting ministry is also correct.

The PIL had claimed that when the anthem was composed in 1917 ‘Sindh’ was a part of India but now it is not and hence it was replaced with the word ‘Sindhu’ referring to the river flowing in India.

Malushte's lawyer Niranjan Mogre, however, claimed that the Apex Court was not informed at the time of passing judgment that the word ‘Sindh’ was replaced long back by the Government and that the correct word is ‘Sindhu’.

"The Union Government is confused and one Ministry claims the correct word is ‘Sindh’ while the Ministry has published the word ‘Sindhu’," Mogre said.