SC asks Govt to consider regulating playing of national anthem

Kristen Gonzales
October 24, 2017

The judge was part of a three-judge bench comprising of himself, CJI Dipak Misra and Justice AM Khanwilkar.

On Monday, Attorney General K.K. Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, said India was a diverse country and the national anthem needed to be played in cinema halls to bring in a feeling of uniformity.

The court, on November 30, 2016, had made it mandatory for movie halls to play the National Anthem before the screening of movies.

The court had said previous year that it would be mandatory for all those in the cinemas to stand up as a sign of respect when the anthem is played.

The court's directions had come on a PIL filed by one Shyam Narayan Chouksey seeking directions that the anthem should be played in all the cinema halls before a film begun.

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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. However, today, the Supreme Court has taken a different stand on the matter.

Though the court did not recall its order, it indicated that it may modify the November order once the Centre put in place a new circular or framework on the matter.

According to Bhadra Sinha of Hindustan Times, Justice Chandrachud said that people go to cinema halls for entertainment, and that the society needs entertainment and not moral policing. Why should we wear patriotism on our sleeves? The Supreme Court asked the government to consider making changes in the national flag code that governs the playing of National Anthem across all cinema halls in the country. "Where does the moral policing stop", the court also observed orally.

The Centre should pass an order without being influenced by the earlier interim order that would remain in force till the Centre takes a final decision, the court said. "It is the duty of every citizen under Article 51-A (a) to abide by the Constitution, respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem", Venugopal submitted. Where do we draw a line? Why should the court be burdened to decide the issue?

"What if somebody objects to people wearing shorts in cinema hall?"

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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