Order on anthem at cinemas may change

Standing for National Anthem in movie theatres not a measure of patriotism Supreme Court
SC agrees to hear review petition on standing during 'Jana Gana Mana' in cinema halls
Author

25 October, 2017

Tomorrow if someone says don't wear shorts and t-shirts to cinema halls because National Anthem is being played, then where do we stop this moral policing? It's a reversal of the apex court's December 1, 2016 order which mandated all the theatres across the country to play the national anthem before screening a film.

LiveLaw reported that the Supreme Court hinted at recalling its order, and that it is up to the government to decide.

After last year's order, movie-goers are required to stand for the anthem before every show.

News18 quoted the bench as saying on Monday: "Cinema halls are places of entertainment after all". 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".

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"Why should we assume that if people do not sing the national anthem, they are less patriatotic?"

During Monday's hearing, one of the judges, justice DY Chandrachud, asked attorney general KK Venugopal if everyone "should wear our patriotism on our sleeves?" This was countered by Justice Chandrachud by arguing that the scope of Article 51A was broad, and it also included in its list of fundamental duties that citizens "develop scientific temper, humanism, spirit of inquiry". By passing the buck to the government, the SC in a way reminded one of its 2013 order on Section 377, in which case too it said that the government must legislate.

Justice Chandrachud said cultural and social values are imbibed from parents and teachers and not what courts enforce through its orders. "In our opinion, it is appropriate that Centre takes a call in this mater, and if necessary, as advised, it may think of issuing a notification or circular or Rules by using its discretion without being influenced by our November 30 order". Standing during national anthem can not be a test of someone's patriotism, Owaisi said. "Nowadays, anthem is played during matches, tournaments and even Olympics where half of the crowd does not understand its meaning", Justice Chandrachud said.

The next date is January 9, by which the Centre will have to come up with a decision.


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