A public interest litigation has been filed in the Supreme Court arguing that the design of the national emblem atop the new Parliament building violates the State Emblem of India (Prohibition of Improper Use) Act of 2005, Live Law reported on Friday.

The plea was moved by two advocates, Aldanish Rein and Ramesh Kumar Mishra, who have contended that the lions portrayed in the emblem appear to be ferocious and aggressive with their mouths open and canines visible, according to Bar and Bench.

The national emblem, made of bronze, was unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on July 12. It is 6.5-metres high and weighs 9,500 kilograms. It is cast on the roof of the new Parliament building, which is a part of the Central Vista project in New Delhi.

The Central Vista project envisages the redevelopment of a stretch at the heart of Lutyens Delhi and is estimated to cost about Rs 20,000 crore.

In their plea before the court, the lawyers have argued that by altering the design of the national emblem, the Centre has violated its sanctity.

“The state emblem of India is the mark of the Identity of the Republic of India,” the lawyers said in their plea, according to Bar and Bench. “Republic of India belongs to We the Indians. When this identity is interfered with, it hurts the national sentiments of its citizens.”

A day after the national emblem was unveiled, several Opposition leaders had raised questions over its design.

“To completely change the character and nature of the lions on Ashoka’s pillar at Sarnath is nothing but a brazen insult to India’s National Symbol!” Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh had said.

The Rashtriya Janata Dal had said that the lions in the new sculpture appeared to have a “man-eater tendency”.

The party added, “The original emblem has a mild expression, but those built during Amrit Kaal show a man-eater’s tendency to consume everything in the country.”

Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha MP Jawahar Sircar had said that the new design was an insult to the national symbol.

“Original is on the left, graceful, regally confident. The one on the right is Modi’s version, put above the new Parliament building – snarling, unnecessarily aggressive and disproportionate. Shame! Change it immediately!” Sircar had said while sharing two different images of the emblem.

In response, the government said that the new emblem was a perfect replica of the original, except for its size.

“The original Sarnath Emblem is 1.6-metre high whereas the emblem on the top of the New Parliament building is huge at 6.5 metres,” Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had said.

He added: “If an exact replica of the original were to be placed on the new building, it would barely be visible beyond the peripheral rail. The ‘experts’ should also know that the original placed in Sarnath is at ground level while the new emblem is at a height of 33 metres from the ground.”