Wednesday, 22 November, 2017

Don't need to stand up to prove patriotism: SC

Supreme Court SC agrees to hear review petition on standing during 'Jana Gana Mana' in cinema halls
Carol Daniels | 24 October, 2017, 00:46

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. During the hearing, Attorney General KK Venugopal had said that playing the National Anthem was necessary since India was a diverse country and the anthem would help promote uniformity.

The November 30, 2016, order made it mandatory that the national anthem should be played at the commencement of film in all cinemas and moviegoers will have to stand during the playing of the national anthem.

The judge indicated that it was for the government to take the call on whether it wants the Flag Code to be amended to make it mandatory for cinema halls to play the anthem. "This could be brought about by playing the national anthem and people will believe that we are all Indians", he said.

The court said that while taking a fresh decision on the matter, the government will not be influenced by its 2016 order wherein playing of the national anthem in cinema halls was made mandatory. Later, in December, the court modified its order to say that handicapped persons need not stand up.

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The bench responded: "Not singing the national anthem in movie halls is not a sign of being anti-national". Justice Chandrachud was particularly critical of earlier order and said that moral policing on the name of patriotism should not be allowed. Why should we wear patriotism on our sleeves? Where do we stop this moral policing.You are opening vast field for the court to enforce a number of fundamental duties.

"These are matters of entertainment". The bench was hearing an application from a Kerala-based film society seeking to recall the November 30, 2016, order on the ground that it amounted to judicial legislation. Where do we draw a line?

"Why do you think that one who does not sing National Anthem is not patriotic?" Can you say this is disrespect to the national anthem? Why should the court be burdened to decide the issue?

Justifying its U-turn on the issue, the Bench said, "People go to movie halls for undiluted entertainment".

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