Supreme Court refuses to recall order on National Anthem

Francis Osborne
October 24, 2017

The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre to take a call on regulating the playing and singing of the national anthem in public places including cinema halls.

"You don't need to play the national anthem in a movie hall to be patriotic.People go to movie halls for undiluted entertainment, but the centre may feel that at each of these venues the national anthem has to be played, it is for the centre to take a call", they said. Not standing during the national anthem in movie halls was not a sign of being anti-national. "Where then can we draw the line on moral policing", said Justice Chandrachud, who was most vocal in demanding Government to respond.

A Supreme Court Bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra, now the Chief Justice of India, had on November 30, 2016 passed an order making it mandatory to play the National Anthem before every show in cinema halls and for cinema-goers to stand up while it was played. With the plaintiff also seeking several other directions, the main case and other tagged cases are still pending. Justice Chandrachud observed and told Attorney General Venugopal that what the court was being asked to do could be done by the Centre.

The court had said past year that it would be mandatory for all those in the cinemas to stand up as a sign of respect when the anthem is played. "So when people come out of the theatre, they are all Indians", said Attorney General KK Venugopal.

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The Centre should pass an order without being influenced by the earlier interim order that would remain in force till the Centre takes a final decision, the court said.

When one of the lawyers said some missionary schools refused to play the National Anthem, Justice Chandrachud, who authored the majority verdict declaring privacy as a fundamental right, retorted: "I studied in a missionary school".

The court's order on Monday came on a plea that sought the recall of its November 30 order.

He further said, " next you will want people to stop wearing tees and shorts to the cinemas saying this is disrespect to the Anthem. He pointed out that it is an offence if the national flag is defaced, burnt or disfigured.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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