National Anthem now Optional in Cinema Halls

What is the judgement?
  • The Supreme Court in November 2017 has ordered cinema halls to mandatorily play the national anthem before every screening and all those present in cinema halls have to “stand up to show respect.”
  • Now it has been optional.
What was the original petition?
The petition had focused on the commercial exploitation of the anthem. It had claimed that the national anthem is sung in various circumstances which are not permissible and can never be countenanced in law. It had referred to the  Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971 and Article 51 (A) of the Constitution to contend that it was the duty of every person to show respect when the anthem was played.
Why SC made it mandatory?
  • SC took note of Article 51(A) and held that national anthem is a symbol of the constitutional patriotism and national quality.
  • It held that cinemas should also display the national flag on screen when the anthem is played and never play any abridged version of anthem.
  • In order to prevent any kind of disturbance when the anthem is played all doors in a cinema hall should remain closed.
  • It event banned exploitation of national anthem for financial benefit.
  • SC ordered that there should be no dramatization of the anthem or its inclusion as part of any variety show.
  • The anthem or part of it should not be printed or displayed in places as it is “disgraceful” to its status.
What modifications were made in this judgement?
  • In December 2016, SC had issued first modification to its order to exempt physically challenged or handicapped persons from standing up when national anthem is played before film screenings.
  • In February 2017, SC has clarified that there is no need to stand inside a cinema hall when the national anthem is featured as a part of a film, documentary or a newsreel. - National Anthem now Optional in Cinema Halls
Related Questions:
  • Can judiciary impose such decisions on citizens?
  • Will this decision increase patriotism?
NOTE: Refer about National Honours: India Year Book Chapter

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