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National Anthem Must Before Movies In Theatres: SC [Read Order]

“Time has come for people to realise that the national anthem is a symbol of constitutional patriotism…people must feel they live in a nation and this individually perceived notion of freedom must go…people must feel this is my country, my motherland.”: SC bench headed by justice Dipak Misra.

The Supreme Court today made it mandatory for all cinema theatres to play the national anthem before a movie begins during which the national flag is to be shown on the screen.

A bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Amitava Roy also said that everyone present in cinema hall should rise up and pay respect to the anthem when it is played.

Acting on a public interest litigation filed by one Shyam Narayan Chouski hailing from Bhopal complaining of misuse of the anthem in TV shows or movies, the court also ruled that it should not be commercially exploited or dramatized.
“When the national anthem is played it is imperative for everyone to show honour and respect It would instill a sense of committed patriotism and nationalism,” it said.

“Time has come for people to realise that the national anthem is a symbol of constitutional patriotism…people must feel they live in a nation and this individually perceived notion of freedom must go…people must feel this is my country, my motherland.” Justice Misra said.

It was mandatory for cinema halls to play the national anthem after every movie in the 1960s. The practice faded away over the years, as multiplexes dramatically changed the movie-watching experience. In 2003, Maharashtra had ordered that the anthem has to be played before the screening of any film.

“The national anthem must not be printed on any undesirable object, and should not be used for any commercial purposes. Also, no dramatisation of the anthem should be allowed”, the court said also asking asked the government to specify what would constitute disrespect to it and its abuse.

The court also ruled that the National Anthem cannot be commercially exploited to gain financial advantage or benefit. “it cannot be introduced or used as part of any entertainment program or variety show”, said the bench.

The Centre for its part agreed to circulate the order to all States’ Chief Secretaries and also to publish it in electronic and print media.

The petition, referring to the provisions of the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971 and also alleged that the national anthem was sung in various circumstances which were not permissible.

The PIL sought directions that the national anthem should be played in cinema halls across the country before a film begins and proper norms and protocol be fixed regarding its playing and singing at official functions and the programmes where constitutional dignitaries are present.

Read the order here.

This article has been made possible because of financial support from Independent and Public-Spirited Media Foundation.

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