A group of young film enthusiasts from Kodungalloor here are in the news with Supreme Court judge Justice D.Y. Chandrachud going critical of an apex court order mandating moviegoers to stand up when the national anthem is played in cinema halls.
Mr. Justice Chandrachud, part of a three-judge Bench, has lashed out at the logic behind the November 30, 2016 order, saying there is no need for an Indian to “wear his patriotism on his sleeve.” The Bench was hearing a petition filed by the Kodungalloor Film Society to recall the order.
There had been a hue and cry when the Kodungalloor Film Society moved the Supreme Court against the order. Many called the society members anti-national and traitors and termed their move an act of sedition.
On November 30, 2016, a Bench led by Justice Dipak Misra ruled that the national anthem should be played in all cinema halls and all present should stand up in respect. “The Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971 is the law regarding the national anthem in our country. As provided in Section 3 of the Act, whoever intentionally prevents the singing of the national anthem or causes disturbances to any assembly engaged in such singing shall be punished with imprisonment for a term, which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both. But with the Supreme Court’s November verdict, people who don’t stand up in cinemas while playing the national anthem cannot be punished under this Act. Because they are not creating any disturbance,” the society members said.
Under IPC Section 188, which deals with disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant, punishment is only for a term of up to one month or a fine of ₹200, they said.
In its petition at the Supreme Court, the film society said the Supreme Court’s November order may lead to insult to the national anthem. It may also lead to unfortunate incidents as people could misuse the order.
“As law-abiding citizens, who believe in the democratic system of the country, we thought it was our duty to present the issue before the court,” the society noted.
Later, the Supreme Court exempted physically and mentally challenged people from standing up in cinema halls for the anthem. The observation of the Supreme Court judge is a fitting reply to those who termed the society anti-national, it said.