Order on anthem at cinemas may change

Order on anthem at cinemas may change

Order on anthem at cinemas may change

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to modify its earlier order in connection with playing of National Anthem in movie theaters.

Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, who was part of the three-judge bench, openly expressed displeasure over the interim order passed previous year and said that one does not have to wear patriotism on sleeves all the time and there could not be any moral policing.

Asking why should the top court take the burden of passing an order extending the mandatory playing or singing of the national anthem in public places, the bench said the Flag Code was not exhaustive and the government could pass orders to regulate it. "As courts, why should we assume that if someone says I do not want to sing the anthem or stand up, I am not patriotic, or much worse that I am targeted for being an anti-national". Tomorrow someone may say people should not come in shorts and t-shirts in cinema halls as National Anthem is played there.

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. The court said that it would not let the government shoot from its shoulders and hence it is the centre which must take the call.

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Lashing out at the government for supporting the SC order which made it compulsory to stand up for the anthem, Justice Chandrachud said that the government should take its own stand on whether people should stand up for the anthem. Where do we stop this moral policing.You are opening vast field for the court to enforce a number of fundamental duties.

People go to cinema for undiluted entertainment. These are all matters of entertainment. Venugopal submitted that playing the National Anthem in cinema halls and standing up as a mark of respect for it fosters a sense of unity in a country diverse in caste, religion and regions. Senior counsel Chandra Uday Singh, appearing for a film society seeking recall of the November 30 order, asked then why not play the national anthem on railway platforms as well.

Venugopal said, "the court has ample power under Article 142 of the Constitution to issue directions". You do not have to sing National Anthem to prove your patriotism.

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