The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered that the National anthem should be played in all cinema halls before a movie begins, accompanied by the national flag displayed on screen.
It further said that everyone present in cinema hall should rise up and pay respect to the anthem.
Furthermore, the apex court directed that the national anthem must not be printed on any undesirable object, and should not be used for any commercial purposes. Also, no dramatisation of the anthem should be allowed.
The Centre for its part agreed to circulate the order to all States’ Chief Secretaries and also to publish it in electronic and print media.
Acting on a PIL seeking directions for playing the national anthem in cinema halls before a movie begins, the Supreme Court on October 31 asked the government to specify what would constitute disrespect to it and its abuse.
A bench of justices Dipak Misra and Amitava Roy passed the order while hearing a petition referring to the provisions of the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971 and also alleging that the national anthem was sung in various circumstances which were not permissible.
The PIL filed by Shyam Narayan Chouksey sought directions that the national anthem should be played in cinema halls across the country before a film begins and proper norms and protocol be fixed regarding its playing and singing at official functions and the programmes where constitutional dignitaries are present.
The petition, filed through advocate Abhinav Srivastava, said the national anthem should be respected and due honour should be shown to it by every citizen. It also gave certain suggestions to avoid alleged abuses to it.
“There should be no commercial exploitation to gain financial advantage or any kind of benefit. There should be no interruption in between till the completion of national anthem and no abridged version shall be sung at any point of time.
“There should not be dramatisation of the national anthem and it should not be sung in an entertainment programme,” the plea suggested.
It also said the anthem should not be sung before those who do not understand it unless they are properly apprised that when the National Anthem of India is to be played, they are required to show respect.
“It should not be printed on undesirable objects and should not be displayed in such a manner and at such places which may be disgraceful to its status and may tantamount to disrespect,” the plea said.
The plea also cited instances where the anthem was allegedly abused, including one in which the anthem was played in entertainment shows in order to “dramatise the whole thing”.