The national anthem must be played before the screening of a movie in all cinema halls across the country, the Supreme Court ordered on Wednesday. The court said everyone present there must stand up to pay respect to it and the national flag should be on the screen.
The judges said, “When the national anthem is played it is imperative for everyone to show honour and respect. It would instill a sense of committed patriotism and nationalism.”
The court also directed that the national anthem should not be commercially exploited or dramatized or printed on any objectionable material.
According to the apex court, “People now-a-days don’t know how to sing the national anthem and people must be taught. We must respect national anthem.”
A bench of Justices Amitava Roy and Dipak Mishra stated that this is the time people express their “love for the motherland”. They said it is the duty of every Indian to show respect when the national anthem is played or recited or sung under the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act of 1951.
The court gave 10 days to the Centre and the states to implement the order. The Centre said that it will circulate it to all states’ chief secretaries and will also publish in the electronic and print media.
In the 1960s, it was essential for every cinema hall to play national anthem after every movie. But this was faded away after the multiplex concept has emerged and they changed the movie watching experience.
Maharashtra in 2003 ordered to play the national anthem before the screening of any movie. Last year, the Madras High Court said that the people present in the hall are not bound to stand up when the anthem is played. The court stated standing in the cinema hall would disrupt the screening and “create disorder and confusion rather than add to the dignity of the anthem.”
Shyam Narayan Chouskey who runs an NGO in Bhopal filed the petition asking a set of parameters on what amounts to abuse of the anthem.
The SC’s decision to consider the petition following a couple at a cinema hall in Panaji assaulted a wheel-chair bound man for not standing when the anthem was played.
The court also completely banned the commercial exploitation of the national anthem and the flag. Further it banned the dramatization of the anthem for any entertainment purposes and the display of the anthem on any “undesirable or disgraceful places”.