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

Tabitha Dunn
October 24, 2017

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

The Bench, also comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud, failed to appreciate Centre's submission.

The court then told attorney general K.K. Venugopal that the Centre should take a call on amending the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act (Flag Code), which governs the playing the national anthem in public places and on certain occasions. It said that it would instill a sense of patriotism if people stood up when the National Anthem was being played at cinemas.

He added that there was no need for people to wear their patriotism on their sleeve and that there could be no end to moral policing on this issue.

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The Supreme Court has directed the Union Government to take a call on whether the people should stand up for the National Anthem at cinema halls. "We do not have to sing the national anthem to be patriatotic", the court observed.

The apex court had a year ago ordered the theatres across the country to mandatorily play the national anthem before a movie and the audience must stand and show respect, in a bid to "instil committed patriotism and nationalism". Attorney General K K Venugopal represented the Centre in court. Justice Chandrachud was particularly critical of earlier order and said that moral policing on the name of patriotism should not be allowed. However, today, the Supreme Court has taken a different stand on the matter. Tomorrow someone may say people should not come in shorts and t-shirts in cinema halls as National Anthem is played there. He expressed unhappiness over the government supporting the order which mandates standing up for the National Anthem. 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.

After last year's order, movie-goers are required to stand for the anthem before every show. He pointed out that it is an offence if the national flag is defaced, burnt or disfigured.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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