SC asks Centre to review playing of national anthem in cinema halls

SC asks Centre to decide whether standing for the national anthem in movie halls is mandatory

Representative image | HT

The Supreme Court (SC) today raised objections to the playing of National Anthem at cinema halls and asked the government to consider changing the policy on the same.

A bench, comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, said the Centre has to take a call uninfluenced by its earlier order on the playing of national anthem in the theatres, reported news agency PTI.

On November 30 past year, the Supreme Court ordered that the national anthem must be played in cinemas before a movie's start to instill a feeling of "constitutional patriotism" and a sense of "committed patriotism and nationalism".

The court had acted on a petition filed by Shyam Narayan Chouksey, who wanted the anthem to be mandated at public places like movie halls.

The court had made it mandatory for all those in the cinemas to stand up as a sign of respect when the anthem is played. The Court while making the observation said that citizens should not be forced to 'carry patriotism on their sleeves, ' and that patriotism can't be inculcated like this.

"People go to cinema halls for unadulterated entertainment".

The court then asked the Centre to consider taking a call by January 9, the next date of hearing, on amending the national flag code for regulating the playing of national anthem in cinema halls across the country. Why should we take on your burden? Attorney General K K Venugopal represented the Centre in court.

He further said, " next you will want people to stop wearing tees and shorts to the cinemas saying this is disrespect to the Anthem. "Why should you assume that everyone who doesn't stand up for the national anthem is not patriotic?" He expressed unhappiness over the government supporting the order which mandates standing up for the National Anthem.

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