Justice A.M. Khanwilkar reacted to lawyers' submissions that the National Anthem is played in cinema halls in States like Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh, saying other states might benefit also like Maharashtra. By passing the buck to the government, the SC in a way reminded one of its 2013 order on Section 377, in which case too it said that the government must legislate.
Since the 2016 verdict, there have been multiple incidents in which people have been beaten up for not standing up during the national anthem.
Though the apex court was of the opinion that courts can not "inculcate patriotism among people", the bench's observations on Monday contradicted its 2016 order.
The 2016 order, delivered by a bench headed by now Chief Justice Dipak Misra, had not only made it compulsory for moviegoers to stand for the anthem, it had also instructed that patrons be locked in so that they are unable to disrupt the mandatory rendition by leaving. People go to cinema for undiluted entertainment and to ease out.
"We do not know whether the government will allow him (Centre's interlocutor on Kashmir Dineshwar Sharma) to speak to all stakeholders".
During the hearing, Justice Chandrachud was critical of the apex court's order as well as the central government's stand of defending it.
The strong remarks of the court came during the hearing on a PIL.
And apparently one of the Chief Justices believe that a person does not have to sing along or stand up while the National Anthem is playing, to prove one's patriotism.
The court said that it may alter its order of 1st December 2016, by which it was made mandatory in the movie halls to play the anthem before the screening of a film. The order was passed on December 1 past year. Earlier this year, a wheelchair-bound disability rights activist was allegedly heckled and called a Pakistani at a movie multiplex in Guwahati as he couldn't stand when the national anthem was played before the show began.
"Why don't you amend the Rules?" You can amend it and say where to play national anthem and where it can't be done. As Justice Chandrachud points out, the conflation of entertainment with mandatory displays of patriotism defeats the objective entirely.
The next date is January 9, by which the Centre will have to come up with a decision. It also mandated the Tricolour to be displayed on the screen while the anthem was played and banned dramatising, abridging or monetising the anthem.
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