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Supreme Court says national anthem should be played compulsorily in cinema halls before films

It should be noted that the apex court didn't stay demonetisation and is to hear cases related to it on December 2.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed that the national anthem be played in cinema halls across the country before film screening.

The apex court said the national anthem in movie halls should be accompanied by national flag on screen and everyone present in there must rise and pay respect to the national anthem, ANI reported.

The court, however, banned any “dramatisation” of the national anthem and directed it must not be introduced as part of a variety show. The national anthem must not be printed on any undesirable object and not be used for any commercial purposes, the SC added.

Following this order, the centre has agreed to circulate the order to Chief Secretaries of all the states and also to publish it on electronic and print media, the news agency said.

A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Amitava Roy released the order while hearing a petition referring to the provisions of the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971, Deccan Chronicle reported.

The PIL sought directions that the national anthem should be played in movie theatres across the country before a film begins and proper norms and protocol be fixed regarding this.

The petition said, “there should be no commercial exploitation to gain financial advantage or any kind of benefit. There should be no interruption in between till the completion of national anthem and no abridged version shall be sung at any point of time,” the report said.

“There should not be dramatisation of the national anthem and it should not be sung in an entertainment programme,” the plea added.

Legal experts have earlier claimed that not standing up for the national anthem should not be seen as an offence.

“I don’t think it’s a matter of legality as much as its propriety. It’s not an offence, there is no act which says you must stand,” said senior advocate Iqbal Chagla was quoted by The Times of India earlier.

In October this year, Salil Chaturvedi, a poet and disability campaigner, was attacked in a Goa cinema for not standing during the national anthem. In September 2014, M. Salman, a resident of Kerala, was arrested after complaints saying he and his friends did not stand up when the national anthem was being played before a movie in a state-owned movie theatre in Thiruvananthapuram.

Photo: Vijay Pandey

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