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National Anthem Mandatory in Cinema Halls: SC
Dec 03, 2016

The Supreme Court ordered cinema halls to mandatorily play the national anthem before every screening even as all those present have to stand up to show respect. The practicewill instil a feeling of committed patriotism and nationalism.

Key Features of the Order

  • Cinemas should also display the national flag on screen when the anthem is played.
  • The playing of the anthem is to be seen as an opportunity for the public to express their love for the motherland.
  • After lunch break, the Bench added one other condition in its order. That is, all doors in a cinema hall should remain closed to prevent any kind of disturbance when the anthem is played.
  • The Bench also referred to Article 51 (A) of the Indian Constitution to contend that it was the duty of every person to show respect when the anthem was played. The Bench said, “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 the national anthem, which is a symbol of the constitutional patriotism and inherent national quality. There was no space for the “perception of individual rights” in this issue.
  • The court banned the commercial exploitation of the national anthem and ordered there should not be dramatisation of the anthem or its inclusion as part of any variety show. 
  • The court ordered that the anthem or part of it should not be printed or displayed in places disgraceful to its status. 
  • It also banned the display, recitation or use of the abridged version of the anthem.
  • The Bench said the protocol of showing respect to the anthem and flag was rooted in our national identity, national integrity and constitutional patriotism.
  • A Bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Amitava Roy directed, “It is time people feel this is my country. This is my motherland. You are an Indian first. In other countries, you respect their restrictions. In India, you do not want any restrictions?” 

The order came on a writ petition by Shyam Narayan Chouksey in October. The petition, which referred to the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act of 1971, claimed that the “national anthem is sung in various circumstances which are not permissible and can never be countenanced in law. However, the petition had not asked the court to direct the anthem to be played in movie halls. Instead, it had focused on the commercial exploitation of the anthem.

The five-page written order however did not elaborate why movie halls were particularly chosen as venues to instill nationalism.

Protocol for National Anthem:
There is Section 3 of The Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971. It says whoever intentionally prevents the singing of the Indian National Anthem or causes disturbance to any assembly engaged in such singing shall be punished with imprisonment for a term, which may extend to three years or with fine, or with both. The two rules do not grant an exception even to the physically challenged or differently able. 

Interesting Facts

The first rendition of the song was during a convention of the Indian National Congress on December 16th, 1911. 

  • 'Jana Gana Mana' was performed for the first time in Hamburg on 11th September, 1942. 
  • It was only on 24th January 1950 that this song was officially declared as India's national anthem.
  • The musical notations for the English translation of our national anthem were set by Margaret, wife of poet James H. Cousins, who was the principal of Besant Theosophical College.
  • Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose commissioned a free translation of the national anthem from Sanskritized Bengali to Urdu-Hindi. The translation was written by Captain Abid Ali, composed by Captain Ram Singh Thakur and was called Subah Sukh Chain.
  • Formal rendition of the anthem should take 52 seconds by law.

 


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