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

Supreme Court

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra refused to modify its November order under which it had issued a slew of directions on when and how the national anthem must be played. During the hearing, Attorney General KK Venugopal had said that playing the National Anthem was necessary since India was a diverse country and the anthem would help promote uniformity.

Supreme Court judge Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said that one need not stand up to prove his or her patriotism. The bench responded: "Not singing national anthem in movie halls was not a sign of being anti-national".

People go to cinema for undiluted entertainment.

According to tweets by Krishnadas Rajagopal of The Hindu, Justice Chandrachud questioned where the moral policing would stop, as the government may soon ask people not to wear T-shirts and shorts because it may be disrespectful to the anthem too.

The court said that while taking a decision, the government will not be influenced by the apex court's 2016 order wherein playing of the national anthem in cinema halls was made mandatory. On this, the court wished to know the stand of the Centre on this issue. If people go to cinema halls wearing skirt, would they be branded as showing disrespect to national anthem? Why don't you (Centre) bring regulations if you want people to mandatorily stand up during the national anthem?

Attorney General K K Venugopal submitted that Article 51 A (a) required every citizen as a duty to show respect to the national flag and the national anthem.

Justice Chandrachud said cultural and social values are imbibed from parents and teachers and not what courts enforce through its orders. Where do we draw a line? "This could be brought about by playing the national anthem and people will believe that we are all Indians", he said.

"Why do you think that one who does not sing National Anthem is not patriotic?" 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 pointed out that it is an offence if the national flag is defaced, burnt or disfigured.

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