The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre to take a call on regulating the playing and singing of the national anthem in public places including cinema halls.
The bench, comprising Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud, was hearing a petition filed by the Kodungalloor Film Society of Kerala to recall the November 2016 order. The bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said it was needless to say that the Centre will have full discretion in the matter.
Justice Chandrachud said: “People are afraid they might be called anti-national if they oppose the court’s order. People go to movie halls for entertainment and they definitely need it, not moral policing.”
While referring to the flag code, Justice Chandrachud observed, “There is no mandate that the people should stand up when the National Anthem is sung in a cinema hall.”“Tomorrow if someone says don’t wear shorts and t-shirt to cinema halls because the National Anthem is being played, then where do we stop this moral policing? Should we wear our patriotism on our sleeves?”
The court said that while taking a decision, the government will not be influenced by the apex court's 2016 order wherein playing of the national anthem in cinema halls was made mandatory.
The apex court said, "The discretion has to be exercised without being influenced by our interim order. We may further emphasize that the discretion may be utilized to regulate in an inclusive manner or as the Central Government feels fit."
The next hearing is on January 9. At present, the order remains unmodified and the National Anthem will continue to play in cinema halls.