SC wants govt framework on playing of national anthem in cinema halls


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.

A bench, comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, said the Centre has to take a call uninfluenced by its earlier order on the playing of national anthem in the theatres.

On December 30, the court said the differently-abled people were not required to stand up.

"Why should we assume that if people do not sing the national anthem, they are less patriatotic?" They go watch movies for undiluted entertainment and the society needs to be entertained, Justice Chandrachud also observed. "Where then can we draw the line on moral policing", said Justice Chandrachud, who was most vocal in demanding Government to respond.

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On November 30 past year, the Supreme Court ordered that the national anthem must be played in cinema halls across the country before a movie starts in order to instil a sense of patriotism and nationalism. With the plaintiff also seeking several other directions, the main case and other tagged cases are still pending. Where do we stop this moral policing.You are opening vast field for the court to enforce a number of fundamental duties. You do not have to sing National Anthem to prove your patriotism. He expressed unhappiness over the government supporting the order which mandates standing up for the National Anthem.

Justice Chandrachud said cultural and social values are imbibed from parents and teachers and not what courts enforce through its orders.

Last year, the SC had said that "love and respect for the motherland are reflected when one shows respect to the national anthem as well as to the national flag", even though it did not lay down any punishment for violation of its order.

He wondered as to why the government put the blame and burden on the court for passing such an interim order. We cannot decide this but you (Centre) can amend and make it happen. "It is for the government to take a decision", the bench said.