February 24, 2018

SC wants govt framework on playing of national anthem in cinema halls

24 October 2017, 12:46 | Rex Hubbard

Representative image | HT

SC asks Centre to decide whether standing for the national anthem in movie halls is mandatory

A three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said the court would replace "shall" with "may" in its November 30, 2016 order by taking away complusory part of playing the national anthem before the movie began in theatres.

While hearing the matter, Justice D Y Chandrachud said, " you do not have to stand up in the cinemas during the National Anthem to prove your patriotism".

The court then told attorney general K.K. Venugopal that the Centre should take a call on amending the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act (Flag Code), which governs the playing the national anthem in public places and on certain occasions.

In a major departure from its order mandating cinema halls to play the national anthem before screening of any movie, the Supreme Court on Monday said such a direction, if at all, has to come from the Government.

The court had made it mandatory for all those in the cinemas to stand up as a sign of respect when the anthem is played.

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It had also said proper norms and protocol should be fixed regarding its playing and singing at official functions and programmes where those holding constitutional office are present.

The court's order on Monday came on a plea that sought the recall of its November 30 order.

"People go to cinema halls for unadulterated entertainment".

He added that there was no need for people to wear their patriotism on their sleeve and that there could be no end to moral policing on this issue. "Values are inculcated in a broad social and political culture and patriotism can not be inculcated among people by Supreme Court order making it mandatory for playing National Anthem in cinema halls", he said.

"These are matters of entertainment. If the government feels it, it should do it (make it mandatory) why should we do it (pass order)", Justice Chandrachud asked. Why don't you (Centre) bring regulations if you want people to mandatorily stand up during the national anthem? Where do we stop this moral policing.You are opening vast field for the court to enforce a number of fundamental duties. Where do we draw a line? "We do not have to sing the national anthem to be patriatotic", the court observed. Why people should assume that everyone who don't sing or stand for the national anthem is not patriotic.

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