SC: Not mandatory to play National Anthem before a Movie

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The Supreme Court of India comprising a bench of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and Dr. D.Y. Chandrachud has modified their previous order and has held that it is not mandatory to play the National Anthem in a theatre before a movie.

The Attorney General for India K. K. Venugopal had submitted before the court that the word “shall” should be replaced by “may” in the interim order dated 30 November 2016 whereby which the Supreme Court had made it mandatory for the cinema halls to play the National Anthem before every film, the relevant para of which is as follows:

“(d) All the cinema halls in India shall play the National Anthem before the feature film starts and all present in the hall are obliged to stand up to show respect to the National Anthem.”

The said submission was made by the Attorney General before the Supreme Court, as after the directions of the Supreme Court of India dated 23rd October 2017, the Central Government had constituted a Committee to look into the matter as to whether playing the National Anthem before a movie should be mandatory or not. The said committee will submit its recommendations within six months after considering the representations that are made to it.

The Supreme Court further observed that though it is not mandatory for the cinema halls to play the National Anthem before a movie, if at all a National Anthem is being played, “Citizens or persons are bound to show respect as required under executive orders relating to the National Anthem of India and the prevailing law, whenever it is played or sung on specified occasions.”

The court extended the exception that was granted to the disabled persons and it shall remain in force till the final decision of the competent authority is made.

Click here to read the judgment.

About Alabhya Dhamija

Alabhya is an Advocate practicing at Delhi High Court and other courts in Delhi. Contact: alabhya@dhamija.com

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