Audience need not stand when National Anthem is part of film: Supreme Court

People stand up as National Anthem is played in a screen at Sathyam S2 Cinemas in Spectrum Mall, Perambur, Chennai.   | Photo Credit: V. Ganesan

There is no need to be on your feet inside a cinema hall when the National Anthem is featured as a part of a film, documentary or a newsreel.

The Supreme Court issued this second clarification on its November 30 order, directing all to mandatorily stand up when the National Anthem is sung or played in a cinema theatre.

“It is clarified that when the National Anthem is sung or played in the storyline of a feature film or as part of the newsreel or documentary, apart from what has been stated in the order dated 30.11.2016, the audience need not stand,” Justice Dipak Misra, heading a Bench, also comprising Justice R. Banumathi, directed.

Several applications filed

The court’s clarification came after several applications were filed on the question, including from the Conference for Human Rights and the Kodungallur Film Society.

On December 9 last year, the Supreme Court first modified its November 30 order by exempting physically challenged or handicapped persons from standing up when the National Anthem is played before film screenings.

On November 30, the court had ordered cinema halls to mandatorily play the anthem and had directed all those present there to stand up to show respect.

The court said the practice would instil a feeling of committed patriotism and nationalism.

It also ordered cinema halls to display the national flag on the screen when the anthem was played. The playing of the anthem in cinema halls, it said, was to be conceived as an opportunity for the public to express their “love for the motherland”. “It is time people feel ‘this is my country’,” Justice Misra had remarked. The order came on a writ petition filed by Shyam Narayan Chouksey in October this year.

The petition, which referred to the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act of 1971, claimed that the “National Anthem is sung in various circumstances which are not permissible and can never be countenanced in law”.

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Printable version | Sep 19, 2021 2:28:51 PM |

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