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Indian cinemas must play national anthem, says court

NEW DELHI, November 30, 2016

India's Supreme Court has ruled that the national anthem must be played in every cinema before a film is screened. Judges said the order should be enforced within 10 days and audiences must stand when the anthem is played.

In the 1960s and 1970s, cinemas regularly played the anthem, but the practice declined. Opinion on the court move is divided on social media, reported BBC.

There is no uniform law in India regarding the anthem and the 29 states have had their own laws on the issue.

In 2003, the western state of Maharashtra made it compulsory for cinemas in the state to play the anthem, but last year, the Madras High Court ruled against such a move in Tamil Nadu state, saying that doing so might create disorder and confusion.

On Wednesday, the two-judge bench of Justice Dipak Mishra and Justice Amitav Roy ruled that the anthem must be played in all cinemas, accompanied by an image of the Indian flag.

Discarding notions of “any different notion or the perception of individual rights”, the bench said the movie screen shall have the image of the national flag when the anthem is being played and that doors of the halls will remain shut during the anthem so that no disturbance is caused, reported Indian Express.

“The directions are 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,” said the bench, giving 10 days for compliance with its direction.

"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 National Anthem, which is the symbol of the constitutional patriotism and inherent national quality," it added.

The court order, however, does not entail any penalty or punishment for not standing when the national anthem is played and hence, it remains to be seen how public authorities and those managing private cinema halls would ensure the direction is followed “in letter and spirit.”




Tags: Court | cinema |

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