Review playing of national anthem in cinema halls, SC to Centre

24 October, 2017, 00:48 | Author: Keith Rowe
  • Standing while playing National Anthem in cinema hall not a measure of patriotism: Supreme court

Asking "why should we wear patriotism on our sleeves", the Supreme Court on Monday directed the Centre to take a call on the playing of the national anthem in public places, including cinema halls.

Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, who was part of the three-judge bench, openly expressed displeasure over the interim order passed a year ago and said that one does not have to wear patriotism on sleeves all the time and there could not be any moral policing.

Although attorney general KK Venugopal strongly supported SC's previous year order saying that playing of national anthem in cinema halls would foster the feeling of national unity and patriotism among people, the bench, however, was of the opinion that court should refrain from passing such orders. If people go to cinema halls wearing skirt, would they be branded as showing disrespect to national anthem? "This could be brought about by playing the national anthem and people will believe that we are all Indians", he said.

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


The Bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, was initially inclined to modify its November 30, 2016, order replacing the word "shall" with "may".

People go to cinema for undiluted entertainment.

"These are matters of entertainment". You can pass executive orders to regulate it. Justice Chandrachud observed and told Attorney General Venugopal that what the court was being asked to do could be done by the Centre. "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 on moral policing?

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. Why should the court be burdened to decide the issue?

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