India: National Anthem to be played before movies

By WordForPeace News Desk

The Supreme Court hasmade playing of the national anthem mandatory before movie screenings in theatres across the country, underlining that it would instill a sense of committed patriotism and nationalism in citizens. A bench led by Justice Dipak Misra issued guidelines on the national anthem, saying it cannot be commercially exploited and that no entity could either dramatise it or use it in abridged form.

Further, the bench said people must show respect to the national anthem and the national flag and called it imperative to show them honour and respect. The court said that when the Anthem is played in movie halls, it should be accompanied with images of the national flag on screen and people must stand up. It however clarified that the disabled would be exempt.

The court said: Time has come for people to realise that the national anthem is a symbol of constitutional patriotismpeople must feel they live in a nation and this wallowing individually perceived notion of freedom must gopeople must feel this is my country, my motherland.

Prohibiting use of the national anthem on disgraceful/undesirable places and on objects, the top court noted that at the root of the guidelines is national identity, integrity and constitutional patriotism. It gave states and union territories a week to ensure awareness and compliance with the directives.

The court order came on a PIL filed by Shyam Narayan Chouksey, a retired engineer in Bhopal. Chouksey had brought before the bench examples to illustrate how provisions of Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971, were being breached.

Choukseys counsel Abhinav Shrivastava urged the court to lay down norms regarding playing of the national anthem in cinema halls, entertainment programmes and in official functions. (With inputs from news agencies).

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