The national anthem must be played in theaters before movie screenings, the Supreme Court today directed. Everyone should stand when the anthem is played and the national flag should be shown on screen, the court said.
“When the national anthem is played it is imperative for everyone to show honour and respect. It would instill a sense of committed patriotism and nationalism,” said the judges.
Acting on a petition on the alleged misuse of the anthem in TV shows or movies, the court also ruled that it should not be commercially exploited or dramatized or printed on objectionable material.
The petition was filed by Shyam Narayan Chouski, who runs an NGO in Bhopal.
It was essential for cinema halls to play the national anthem after every movie in the 1960s. The practice faded away over the years, as multiplexes dramatically changed the movie-watching experience.
In 2003, Maharashtra ordered that the anthem has to be played before the screening of any film.
Abhinav Shrivasav, the lawyer who argued the petition, said there were instances when the anthem is played when dignitaries speak on the phone.
Further, the SC said the national anthem must not be played on entertainment TV shows as it cannot be commercially exploited. There should not be any dramatisation while singing and playing the national anthem either.
The anthem must not be printed on an “undesirable place” either.