The National Anthem Verdict : Decoded

  • Background:
    • Supreme court recently ordered that national anthem must be played before the film is screened in every theatre and people must stand up to pay respect to it.
    • Case: Shyam Narayan Chouksey v/s Union of India.


Image result for supreme court national anthem


  • Why did the court order this?:
    • The statement of the court is “ People nowadays do not know how to sing the national anthem and people must be taught. We must respect national anthem”.
    • Love and respect for the motherland is reflected when one shows respect to the national anthem and national flag.
    • Article 51A(a) which cites that it is the duty of every citizen “to abide the constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the national flag and national anthem”.
    • At the root of the guideline is national identity, integrity ,and constitutional patriotism.

Image result for supreme court national anthem

  • What else did the court say?:
    • The court said that the national anthem should not be played on entertainment TV shows as it cannot be commercially exploited.
    • There should not be any dramatization while singing and playing national anthem nor it should be in abridged form.
    • The anthem cannot be printed on an “undesirable place”.
  • Any earlier such order?:
    • The screening of K3G was banned by a bench of MP High Court for commercial exploitation of the national anthem.However, the Supreme Court set aside the verdict by ruling that audience does not need to stand up when singing of national anthem is depicted.
    • Bijoe Emmanuel and Ors v/s State of Kerala: granted protection to three children who did not join singing the national anthem in school. The court said: it will not be right to say that disrespect is shown by not joining in the singing.
  • Was it earlier played in cinemas?:
    • After 1962 war. But discontinued after 1975 after moviegoers ignored it.
  • Have any states made it compulsory to play the national anthem before the movie is screened?:
    • Maharashtra, Chattisgarh and Goa.
  • Any laws in place?:
    • Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act : Section 3 of the act states that causing disturbance during the playing of the anthem or preventing singing of the anthem is punishable by imprisonment and/or fine.
  • What could be the ramifications?:
    • Negative:
      • Moral policing and chaos could be the first major consequence. Examples:
        • Salil Chaturvedi, a physically challenged social activist was harassed at Goa theatre for not standing while the national anthem was played.
        • Actor Kushal Tandon accused Ameesha Patel, who was menstruating at that time for not standing while the national anthem was been played.
      • There is no law which mentions that refusing to stand on the national anthem play is a crime.
      • What happens if we refuse to stand is still unclear.
    • Positive
      • Inculcation of nationalism and patriotism among the citizens.

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