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Written by:
Prachi Darji
Published on

You must have heard or read in the newspaper or online that Supreme Court has ordered playing of National Anthem at Cinema Halls and everyone must stand during that time period. Do not depend on half information and read the full order and directions issued here:

CASE NUMBER: Writ Petition(s)(Civil) No(s). 855/2016

CASE TITLE: Shyam Narayan Chouksey Versus Union of India.

DATE: 30/11/2016

CORAM: Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Amitava Roy


We have heard Mr. Abhinav Srivastav, learned counsel for the petitioner and Mr. Mukul Rohatgi, learned Attorney General for India along with Mr. A.K. Panda, learned senior counsel for the Union of India. This Court on 28.10.2016 while entertaining the Writ Petition under Article 32 of the Constitution of India had noted the submissions advanced by the learned counsel for the petitioner, made reference to the enactment, namely, Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971. It had also taken note of the averments in the petition.


It has been averred in the petition that sometimes National Anthem is sung in various circumstances which are not permissible and can never be countenanced in law. The emphasis is on showing requisite and necessary respect when the National Anthem is sung or played. The assertion is that it is the duty of every person to show respect when the National Anthem is played or recited or sung.


Having heard the learned counsel for the parties and awaiting the reply from the Union of India, as an interim measure, it is directed that the following directions shall be scrupulously followed:

  1. There shall be no commercial exploitation to give financial advantage or any kind of benefit. To elaborate, the National Anthem should not be utilized by which the person involved with it either directly or indirectly shall have any commercial benefit or any other benefit.

  2. There shall not be a dramatization of the National Anthem and it should not be included as a part of any variety show. It is because when the National Anthem is sung or played it is imperative on the part of everyone present to show due respect and honour. To think of a dramatized exhibition of the National Anthem is absolutely inconceivable.

  3. National Anthem or a part of it shall not be printed on any object and also never be displayed in such a manner at such places which may be disgraceful to its status and tantamount to disrespect. It is because when the National Anthem is sung, the concept of the protocol associated with it has its inherent roots in National identity, National integrity and Constitutional Patriotism.

  4. All the cinema halls in India shall play the National Anthem before the feature film starts and all present in the hall are obliged to stand up to show respect to the National Anthem.

  5. Prior to the National Anthem is played or sung in the cinema hall on the screen, the entry and exit doors shall remain closed so that no one can create any kind of disturbance which will amount to disrespect to the National Anthem. After the National Anthem is played or sung, the doors can be opened.

  6. When the National Anthem shall be played in the Cinema Halls, it shall be with the National Flag on the screen.

  7. The abridge version of the National Anthem made by anyone for whatever reason shall not be played or displayed.


The directions have been issued for love and respect for the motherland is reflected when one shows respect to the National Anthem as well as to the National Flag. That apart, it would instil the feeling within one, a sense committed patriotism and nationalism.

In this regard, the Supreme Court also referred to clause (a) of Article 51(A), Fundamental Duties occurring in Part IVA of the Constitution. It reads as follows:

“51A. Fundamental duties – It shall be the duty of every citizen of India-

(a) to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem”.

Supreme Court observed that “from the aforesaid, it is clear as crystal that it is the sacred obligation of every citizen to abide by the ideals engrafted in the Constitution. And one such ideal is to show respect for the National Anthem and the National Flag. Be it stated, a time has come, the citizens of the country must realize that they live in a nation and are duty-bound to show respect to the National Anthem which is the symbol of the Constitutional Patriotism and inherent national quality. It does not allow any different notion or the perception of individual rights, that have individually thought of have no space. The idea is constitutionally impermissible. Mr. Rohatgi has submitted that the Union of India shall circulate this order to the Chief Secretaries of all the States and Union Territories. That apart, Mr. Rohatgi submits that the order shall be shown in the electronic Media and published in the print media so that everyone knows that such an order has been passed and follow the same in letter and spirit.”