'Don't need to stand up in theatres to be patriotic'
The Supreme Court asked Centre to consider amending the national flag code for playing the national anthem in Indian cinema-halls. It asked whether standing up for the national anthem in theaters should be mandatory. The bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud told Centre to take a decision "uninfluenced" by the SC's 2016 order on national anthem in movie-halls.
National anthem needs to be played: A-G Venugopal
Attorney-General KK Venugopal, representing the Centre, said India is a diverse country, and the national anthem needs to be played for uniformity. Justice Chandrachud said: "People go to the movie halls for undiluted entertainment. You do not have to stand up for the national anthem in cinemas to prove your patriotism." He added people are afraid they will be called "anti-national" if they oppose.
SC bench indicates it may modify 2016 order
Last year, the apex court ordered all theaters in India to play the national anthem mandatorily, and that audience must stand to show respect. However, the SC bench has now hinted at modifying the 2016 order, which states movie theaters "shall" play the national anthem. It may replace the word "shall" with "may"; making it cinema halls "may" play the anthem.
Love and respect for motherland
Last year, in a bid to "instill committed patriotism and nationalism," the top court stated that "love and respect for the motherland is reflected when one shows respect to the national anthem as well as to the national flag."
Plea seeking SC's directions on playing national anthem
The SC's 2016 order came while it was acting on a plea filed by Shyam Narayan Chouksey. Chouksey sought the apex court's directions on making the national anthem compulsory in movie halls before the screening of a film. The plea also sought proper norms and protocol regarding the playing and singing of national anthem at official programs and functions.
Printing of national anthem
Last year, the Supreme Court also barred people from printing the national anthem or a part of it on objects or displaying it a manner which may be "disgraceful to its status and tantamount to disrespect."