New Delhi: People do not need to stand up in the cinema halls to prove their patriotism, the Supreme Court said on Monday and asked the Centre to consider amending the rules for regulating playing of the national anthem in the theatres.The top court also observed that it cannot be assumed that if a person does not stand up for national anthem, then he is “less patriotic”.
The bench also indicated that it may modify its order of December 1, 2016, by which the playing of the anthem was made mandatory in the movie halls before the screening of a film, and it may replace the word “shall” with “may”.“People go to cinema halls for undiluted entertainment. Society needs entertainment. We cannot allow you (Centre) to shoot from our shoulders. People do not need to stand up in cinema halls to prove their patriotism,” the bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, said.
“Desirability is one thing but making it mandatory is another. Citizens cannot be forced to carry patriotism on their sleeves and courts cannot inculcate patriotism among people through its order,” the bench said.The court’s strong remarks came during the hearing on a PIL filed last year by one Shyam Narayan Chouksey seeking directions that the national anthem should be played in all the cinema halls before a film begins.
In contrast to these remarks, a bench headed by Justice Misra had ordered the theatres across the country on December 1 last year to “mandatorily” play the national anthem before a movie and the audience must stand and show respect, in a bid to “instil committed patriotism and nationalism”.