Wednesday, 22 November, 2017

SC refuses to modify order on playing National Anthem in movie theatres

SC agrees to hear review petition on standing during 'Jana Gana Mana' in cinema halls Standing while playing National Anthem in cinema hall not a measure of patriotism: Supreme court
Jerome Frank | 24 October, 2017, 00:46

A bench, comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud also said the Centre has to take a call in this matter.

On December 30, the court said the differently-abled people were not required to stand up.

Lashing out at the government for supporting the SC order which made it compulsory to stand up for the anthem, Justice Chandrachud said that the government should take its own stand on whether people should stand up for the anthem.

Justifying its U-turn on the issue, the Bench said, "People go to movie halls for undiluted entertainment. We do not have to sing the national anthem to be patriatotic", the court observed. Finally, the court left it to the discretion of the government to bring out any notification, if necessary, to take a call to make or not make the playing of the National Anthem mandatory in cinema halls, uninfluenced by the Court's earlier order. The AG submitted that playing the Anthem would be a "unifying force" so that "when people come out of the theatre they will believe that we are all Indians". Justice Chandrachud was particularly critical of earlier order and said that moral policing on the name of patriotism should not be allowed.

The court had said a year ago that it would be mandatory for all those in the cinemas to stand up as a sign of respect when the anthem is played. Where do we draw a line on moral policing? It said, "As the Central Government, you have vast powers to amend the Flag Code, which has no bar on defining the places where national anthem must be sung".

However, Centre has expressed support for the singing of the anthem, stating that it will instil a feeling of unity in a diverse country with many castes and religions. Senior counsel Chandra Uday Singh, appearing for a film society seeking recall of the November 30 order, asked then why not play the national anthem on railway platforms as well.

He wondered as to why the government put the blame and burden on the court for passing such an interim order. He wanted both the laws should be in consonance to each other and disrespect should be made a punishable offence.

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