The Supreme Court on Tuesday clarified that people are not obligated to stand up when the National Anthem is played as a part of the storyline of a film, newsreel or documentary. The Judgement came after one of the petitioners asked the apex court to clarify if people need to stand up if the National anthem is played in between the movie. Judgement was delivered by a bench of Justices Dipak Misra and R Banumathi.
This order comes months after the apex court had mandated all the cinema halls to play the national anthem at the beginning of the movie accompanied by the showing of National Flag on the screen. The Supreme Court had directed that all the people present in the movie halls must stand at the time of National Anthem is played and show respect towards it.
Down the Timeline
In November, 2016 The Supreme Court had directed Cinema Halls to play the Indian National Anthem in the theatres before screening the movies. The court had accepted the petition filed by Shyam Narayan Chouksey and upheld that the national flag should also be shown on the screen and mandated everyone to rise during the national anthem.
The bench headed by Justices Amitava Roy and Dipak Mishra stressed that it is the duty of every citizen of the country to exhibit respect to the anthem and the flag. The bench also directed the Centre that the order should be followed in a week’s time and should be circulated to all the States and Union Territories through Chief Secretaries.
Shyam Narayan Chouksey who runs an NGO in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh went to watch the movie in a theatre. At one point during the movie, the national anthem was played. He stood up but was shocked to see that no else did. The people continued eating or talking. He urged everybody to stand, but nobody did. This infuriated Shyam, and he filed a Public Interest Litigation in the Jabalpur High Court. The high court banned the screening of the film until the national anthem part was not deleted. The Supreme Court suspended the ban by Jabalpur High Court in September 2003.
In November 2016, the Supreme Court mandated all the cinema halls to play the national anthem at the beginning of the movie and directed the Center to circulate the order to all the chief secretaries of the state.
It is still important to stand when the national anthem is played at the beginning of the movie.