Every theater in country must play national anthem before start of film: Supreme Court

Every theater in country must play national anthem before start of film: Supreme Court
Representational Image. Picture Courtesy: Indiatimes.com

The Supreme Court on Wednesday made it mandatory for public theaters to play the national anthem before screening any film and said that everyone must stand when the anthem is being played and that the national flag must be displayed on screen.

“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,” it said.

Acting on a petition filed by NGO worker Shyam Narayan Choksi, in which he alleged the anthem’s misuse, it also ruled that it should not be commercially exploited or dramatized.

“There should not be any commercial exploitation of the national anthem,” the court said, adding that theater owners can instead display the national flag on the screen while national anthem is being played.

The court also said that the national anthem should not be printed or displayed on undesirable objects, as a matter of respect.

In the 1960’s, it was mandatory for movie theaters to play the national anthem. But theaters stopped following the practise in subsequent years due to lack of enforcement.

The anthem is still played in theaters of some states like Maharashtra, where the state government made it mandatory in 2003.

The Centre, meanwhile, has agreed to circulate the order to all the Chief Secretaries across states and to publish the order of the apex court in the electronic and print media.

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