Need not stand when Anthem played in film, says Supreme Court

Need not stand when Anthem  played in film, says Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Tuesday clarified that the audience in a cinema hall need not stand up when the National Anthem is played as part of the storyline during the screening of a feature film.

A bench presided over by Justice Dipak Misra passed its order after senior advocate Sidharth Luthra, appearing as amicus curiae, gave suggestions to it, as Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi agreed to them.

The court had on November 30 directed all cinema halls in the country to play the National Anthem before the feature film begins.

This order also made it mandatory for all those present in the hall “to stand up to show respect to the national anthem” as part of their “sacred obligation”.

On Tuesday, the court clarified that the previous order was an interim order and not a final judgement.

 “It is an interim order subject to debate. Besides, there is a misconception that there is a compulsion to sing. We have limited our order to standing up when the National Anthem is played,” said the judge.

‘No moral policing’

The bench also observed that “there should be no moral policing at all” by the general public in their endeavour to enforce the court order.

During the hearing, Rohatgi said that there should be a review of a 30-year-old judgment that permitted people belonging to the Jehovah’s Witnesses sect to not sing the Anthem as part of their right to profess religion.

He sought a stricter order by the apex court, saying a debate must also start as to why the mandatory singing of the National Anthem should be included in the school curriculum since “it is extremely important to instill a sense of nationalism from childhood”.

The court fixed the matter for consideration on April 18, also to discuss whether the issue should be referred to a larger bench.

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