Audience need not stand when National Anthem played in film: SC

Audience need not stand when National Anthem played in film: SC
The Supreme Court today clarified that the audience need not stand when the National Anthem is sung or played in the storyline of a feature film or part of a newsreel or documentary.

A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and R Banumathi observed this after amicus curiae and senior advocate Siddharth Luthra said it may be clarified that people are not expected to stand when the National Anthem is sung or played as a part of the storyline in a film, newsreel or documentary.

The court's clarification came after Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi accepted the suggestion of the amicus curiae.

"In view of the aforesaid, it is clarified that when the National Anthem is sung or played in the storyline of a feature film or part of the newsreel or documentary, apart from what has been stated in the order dated November 30, 2016, the audience need not stand," the bench said.

The apex court referred to the provisions of the new legislation 'The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 and said that the Centre may come out with a notification within a week on the lines of its interim order passed on December 9 last year.

On that day, the apex court had modified its earlier order by exempting physically handicapped persons from standing when the national anthem was played before the screening of a movie in cinema halls across the nation.

The apex court has now listed the matter for further hearing on April 18.

At the fag end of the hearing, the bench observed that the matter was required to be debated and it may be referred to the constitution bench as well.

"There has to be a debate. The order has to be debated. It may be correct. It may be not correct. It (the matter) may be sent to the constitution bench," the bench said.

The apex court had on November 30 last year ordered cinema halls across the nation to mandatorily play the National Anthem before screening of a movie when the audience must stand and show respect.

The order had come on the PIL filed by one Shyam Narayan Chouksey seeking directions that 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 programmes where those holding constitutional office are present.

The apex court, while passing a slew of directions, had also observed that "time has come when citizens must realise they live in a nation and are duty-bound to show respect to National Anthem which is a symbol of constitutional patriotism and inherent national quality."

It had said that "love and respect for the motherland is reflected when one shows respect to the National Anthem as well as to the National Flag".

The apex court had barred printing of the anthem or part of it on any object and displaying it in such a manner at places which may be "disgraceful to its status and tantamount to disrespect". It had also prohibited playing or displaying an "abridged version" of the anthem.
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