The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed cinema halls to play the National Anthem before the start of movies, saying it will instil “constitutional patriotism as well as committed patriotism and nationalism”.
The playing of the anthem will be accompanied by an image of the Tricolour on the screen, the court said while barring its commercial exploitation, dramatisation or playing of an abridged version.
The order shall be given effect to within a period of 10 days.
The court said when the National Anthem is sung or played, it is imperative on the part of everyone present to show due respect and honour by standing up.
“It is because when the National Anthem is sung, the concept of protocol associated with it has its inherent roots in national identity, national integrity and constitutional patriotism,” the court said.
“All cinema halls in India shall play the National Anthem before the feature films start and all present in the hall are obliged to stand up to show respect,” said a bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Amitava Roy.
It said before “the National Anthem is played or sung in the cinema hall on the screen, the entry and exit doors shall remain closed so that no one can create any kind of disturbance which will amount to disrespect to the National Anthem”.
The doors to cinema halls can be opened after the National Anthem is played or sung.
The order was passed on a public interest litigation filed by Shayam Narayan Chouksey who sought guidelines on playing the National Anthem.
Justice Misra said: “The directions are issued, for love and respect for the motherland is reflected when one shows respect to the anthem as well as to the National Flag.”
Referring to Article 51 of the Constitution regarding the Fundamental Duties of the citizens, the court said: “… it is the sacred obligation of every citizen to abide by the ideals engrafted in the Constitution. And one such ideal is to show respect for the National Anthem and the National Flag.”
“… The citizens must realise that they live in a nation and are duty bound to show respect to National Anthem which is the symbol of the constitutional patriotism and inherent national quality.”
The court prohibited commercial exploitation of the National Anthem.
“There shall be no commercial exploitation to give financial advantage or any kind of benefit,” the court said.
Barring any dramatisation of the National Anthem or its inclusion as a part of any variety show, the court said: “To think of a dramatised exhibition of the National Anthem is absolutely inconceivable.”
The court directed that the National Anthem or part of it shall not be printed or displayed in a manner or at places “which may be disgraceful to its status and tantamount to disrespect”.
The court recorded Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi’s statement that the Centre will communicate the order to the Chief Secretaries of the states and union territories.