The Kerala high court on Wednesday issued orders to continue in a lower court the trial against union minister Shashi Tharoor in a case of alleged disrespect to the national anthem.
The minister for state for human resource development termed the case against him as "malicious". The incident took place Dec 16, 2008, during a meeting at Kochi where Tharoor allegedly asked the audience to sing the national anthem by placing their right hand on their chest, similar to the practice in the US.
"The present case that is on is nothing but a malicious one pursued with political motives. I will seek legal advice on the judgement that has come out today (Wednesday) in the case in which I allegedly showed disrespect to the national anthem almost four years ago," said Tharoor.
The Kerala High Court earlier issued orders to continue the trial proceedings under Section 3 of the Prevention of Insults to the National Honour Act 1971 against him in the additional chief judicial magistrate's court in Kochi.
Tharoor told reporters that he had asked the court to examine the visuals of what happened in 2008 but the court according to him said that it was not possible because no such provisions exist and the case will now continue.
"In that meeting, the top police and district officials were there and just an examination of the visuals will reveal that I have not shown any disrespect to the national anthem. Now since the rules do not allow, I respect the judiciary and now I will seek legal advice on what needs to be done next," said Tharoor.
"I am a true patriot and the fact that I decided not to apply for a green card after I finished my United Nations assignment clearly shows that I love my country," he said.
"For me it's unthinkable that I would do anything wrong to the country's pride. I will fight the case till the end. Even though there have been moves to have an out of court settlement but I have made it clear that the only way is for the petitioner to withdraw the case," added Tharoor.