Supreme Court of India Changed Its Motto? No, Viral Claim is False
Social media users question the secularism of the Supreme Court with a false claim that it changed its motto.
Several users on social media have claimed that the Supreme Court has changed its motto from ‘Satyamev Jayate’ to ‘Yato Dharma Tato Jaya’ as can be seen in the collegium's statement released on 17 August regarding the elevation of six advocates to judges of the Delhi High Court.
However, the SC's logo has always included the motto ‘Yato Dharma Tato Jaya’, while that of the Government of India and High Courts reads ‘Satyamev Jayate’. It hasn't been changed recently.
Social media users shared a screenshot of the statement released by the Supreme Court Collegium regarding the elevation of six advocates as Delhi High Court judges, with the claim,
"सुप्रीम कोर्ट ने 17 अगस्त को एक लिस्ट जारी किया है, जिसमें दिल्ली हाई कोर्ट के लिए 6 जजों के नामों की सूची जारी की गई है। लेकिन यहां बड़ी खबर यह है कि अशोक स्तंभ के नीचे लिखा शब्द बदल गया है। ‘सत्यमेव जयते’ की जगह.. ।।यतो धर्मस्ततो जय: ।। हो गया है। ये देश कहाँ जा रहा है?"
(Translation: The Supreme Court has issued a list on 17 August, in which the list of names of 6 judges for the Delhi High Court has been released. But the big news here is that the words written under the Ashoka Pillar have changed. In place of 'Satyameva Jayate' ...It's now ‘Yato Dharma Tato Jaya’. Where is this country going?")
Senior journalist Punya Prasun Bajpai had also claimed that the SC had changed its logo in a now deleted tweet. On being corrected by BJP leader, Ashwini Upadhyay, he issued an apologetic tweet, clarifying his mistake.
The Quint also received multiple queries on its WhatsApp helpline.
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
The Supreme Court of India's motto has always been ‘Yato Dharma Tato Jaya’, and wasn't changed recently.
We found an article dated 28 March 2013 in the archives of The Indian Express which states that an RTI was filed by one Rahul Mohod who approached the Central Information Commission (CIC) seeking a clarification on why the SC's logo had the phrase ‘Yato Dharma Tato Jaya’, instead of ‘Satyamev Jayate’.
While the Central Public Information Officer could not furnish a satisfactory response to the appellant, the SC was asked to submit relevant documents regarding the adoption of its logo.
Further, we looked into the archives of the SC’s website on the Way Back Machine.
We could find saved versions of the current URL, https://main.sci.gov.in/, from 12 November 2019 to 24 August 2020 which had the same logo.
The SC earlier functioned with the URL, http://supremecourtofindia.nic.in/ which now redirects to the current website of the court. However, we could find saved versions of the previous URL on the Way Back Machine from 6 July 2000 to 20 August 2020.
The site does not contain the motto 'Yato Dharma Tato Jaya' upto 2009.
However, in 2010, the motto appears on the website.
Further, the motto is a Sanskrit shloka borrowed from the Mahabharata and it means where there is justice (dharma), there is victory (jaya).
Evidently, the claims that Supreme Court has changed its motto recently are false.
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