A three-judge Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra stated that its verdict on playing national anthem in theatres has been misused to call people ‘anti-national’. The court seemed to have a change of heart while re-hearing this issue and questioned to the very fact that why there has been always a need to prove patriotism.
A cine association of Kerala opposed the order of SC that made it compulsory to sing the national anthem in theatres questioning how the court can step in when there is already a statute governing play and singing of national anthem in cinema halls.
One of the judges, Justice Dy Chandrachud wondered where to draw the line of moral policing and stated that people go out for a movie for entertainment and sometimes, they wear shorts. After the national anthem, the court may have to impose a ban on people wearing shorts in theatres.
Earlier, Attorney General K.K. Venugopal who represented the Government opposed any attempt to recall the SC’s order that made National Anthem mandatory. He termed it as a way to foster the spirit of unity in diversity and keep breakaway tendencies based on religion, caste, etc. at bay.
The apex court tossed the issue back to the government, stating that people go to theatres for entertainment and what they should do there must not be decided. The court also asked the government to amend the existing laws if it requires any rules on the matter to be imposed on the general public.
Stressing on the fact patriotic values are built by a society’s democratic values and not by an order of the court or government, the court asked why is it necessary to call an individual anti-national on the mere factor that he is not singing the national anthem in theatres.
The court hinted at revising its previous decision of singing the national anthem in theatres to be optional rather than mandatory. In addition, it left the issue to the government to revise laws and rules with respect to singing the national anthem in cinema halls.
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