After receiving flak across the country on making the national anthem mandatory in cinema halls, a bench of Supreme Court has signalled to make amendments in the status quo. The centre had pleaded the Apex Court to not mend the existing rule on national anthem which was enforced on 30th November 2016.
The bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud has hinted that the court might reconsider the existing order of playing the national anthem before the screening in the cinema halls and also asked the government to frame appropriate rules and regulations without making the national anthem mandatory.
“Why do we have to wear patriotism on our sleeves? People go to cinema for undiluted entertainment. Tomorrow someone may say people should not come in shorts and t-shirts in cinema halls as the national anthem is played there. Where then do we draw the line. Where (will) this moral policing would stop?” Justice Chandrachud said.
He reiterated that a movie hall is a place for entertainment and the government has the power to change the law as the issue falls under the executive. “Do not put the burden on the SC. Why don’t you (centre) do it?”
The bench also believed that not singing the national anthem in the theatres cannot be the hallmark of a citizen’s patriotism and one shouldn’t be judged on this ground which reflects moral policing. “It’s wrong to give anyone the badge of anti-national or ‘unpatriotic’ as he is unwilling to stand for the national anthem. Why do I need to stand for the national anthem to prove my patriotism or nationalism?”
The next hearing will be conducted on 9th January. The bench has directed the Attorney General KK Venugopal for a response on this matter by the centre.