Order on anthem at cinemas may change

Saul Bowman
October 25, 2017

One, it is the Centre's responsibility to frame appropriate rules and regulations, not that of the court; second, the apex court can modify the earlier order replacing the word "shall" with "may" on playing the anthem compulsorily in cinema halls. Worse than that is, people entering the cinema hall after the anthem was played just to avoid standing up.

The top court said that it will not allow the Centre to "shoot from its shoulder" and asked the government to take a call on the issue of regulating the playing of the anthem before a film.

As center was keen, Supreme Court has hit on its head and told to review the order.

However, despite the hullabaloo, the November 2016 order hasn't been struck down, or recalled. The order came with additional caveats such as everyone present in the hall must rise and "pay respect" to the National Anthem. This is obviously because a cinema hall is a place for entertainment. people go to cinema halls for undiluted entertainment.

According to Bar & Bench, a Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud observed that the matter lies within the Executive domain with Justice Chandrachud making some interesting remarks on patriotism in cinema halls.

Putting across the government's view on this PIL, the Attorney General K K Venugopal appearing for Centre said that India is a diverse country, national anthem should be played in the movie halls to bring in uniformity. As the government, you have the power.


The SC also reiterated that Article 51A was a fundamental duty that is unenforceable.

However, Venugopal said the government would take a call.

The order was a startling example of forced patriotism and ended up making the apex court look like a part of the wave of hyper nationalism that has a large section of the country's population is in grip. "Standing during national anthem can not be a test of someone's patriotism", Mr Asaduddin Owaisi said.

Putting the final nail on the coffin, Justice Chandrachud said, "The point is that values are inculcated - not mandated". As of now, the court order says we do.

The government has to respond by January 9, when the case will next be heard.

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