FIR against group for ‘disrespecting’ national anthem at movie hall

Fifteen days after the alleged incident of “disrespect” to the national anthem at PVR Cinemas here, the Subramanya Nagar police registered a suo motu case against the accused on Monday.

Sadananda M., Police Inspector, said the accused have been charged under Section 3 of the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971.

On October 23, a group of people allegedly did not stand up when the national anthem was being played before the commencement of a movie in Orin Mall on Dr. Rajkumar Road. A section of the audience created a ruckus and forced the group to go out of the movie hall. They also put up a video on social media, which went viral prompting the police to take up a Non-Cognisable Report a few days later. Now, the police have a bigger challenge in probing the matter to ascertain whether there was any “dishonour” in the first place, said a police officer. According to the police, the video was taken during the argument and not while the anthem was playing. “We have issued notices to the staff of PVR seeking CCTV footage and also asked them if they have contact numbers of the accused, in case they had booked tickets online,” said an officer. The police are also verifying the video to identify the accused for further investigations.

Section 3 of the Act says those who “intentionally prevent the singing of Jana Gana Mana or cause disturbances to any assembly engaged in such singing” shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years.

What SC said

The Supreme Court, in January 2018, made it optional for cinema halls to play the national anthem before every show. A Bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra clarified that it was not mandatory to play the anthem before screenings in cinemas and left the choice to the discretion of cinema hall owners. However, if the anthem is played, patrons in the hall are bound to show respect by standing up, the court said and added that the exception granted to disabled persons from standing up during the anthem “shall remain in force on all occasions.”

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Printable version | May 28, 2022 1:10:17 pm |