NEW DELHI: Prescribing patriotism for citizens, on Wednesday the Supreme Court made it compulsory for cinema theatres to play the national anthem with the image of the national flag prior to screening films and said the audience should stand up to show respect.
Seeking implementation of the order in 10 days, a bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Amitava Roy said: “All 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. When national anthem shall be played in cinema halls, it shall be with the national flag on the screen.”
Adopting an activist stance, the Supreme Court said on Wednesday, “A time has come, the citizens of the country must realise that they live in a nation and are duty bound to show respect to national anthem which is the symbol of constitutional patriotism and inherent national quality. It does not allow any different notion or the perception of individual rights, that have (are)individually thought of, have no space. The idea is constitutionally impermissible.”
To make it obligatory for citizens to show respect for the national anthem and flag, the bench issued a series of interim orders after taking concurrence of attorney general Mukul Rohatgi. Indicating that there will be more to come in future from the apex court, the bench said: “When national anthem is sung, the concept of protocol associated with it has its inherent roots in national identity, national integrity and constitutional patriotism.”
The court explained these directions were issued to sensitise citizens to display “love and respect for the motherland” while showing respect to the national anthem as well as national flag. “It would instil the feeling within one, a sense of committed patriotism and nationalism,” it said.
The court based its directions on Article 51, which provides that it is every citizen’s fundamental duty to “abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the national flag and the national anthem.”
The court also banned commercial exploitation of the national anthem. This means no tele-serial, advertisement or theme songs for any event could use the anthem partly, as had been popular practice. “There shall be no commercial exploitation to give financial advantage or any kind of benefit,” the court said.