You don't have to stand up at a cinema hall to prove Patriotism : Supreme Court on National Anthem
People do not need to stand up at cinema halls to prove their patriotism and "cannot be forced to carry patriotism on their sleeves", the Supreme Court said on Monday, asking the Centre to consider amending the rules to regulate the playing of the National Anthem before a film.
The top court also observed that it cannot be assumed that if a person does not stand up for the National Anthem, then he is "less patriotic".
It said it will not allow the government to "shoot from its shoulder" and asked it to take a call either way on the issue of regulating the playing of the anthem before a film.
The bench also indicated that it may modify its order of 30 November, 2016, by which the playing of the anthem was made mandatory in the movie halls before the screening of a film, and may replace the word "shall" with "may".
"People go to cinema halls for undiluted entertainment. Society needs entertainment. We cannot allow you (Centre) to shoot from our shoulders. People do not need to stand up in cinema halls to prove their patriotism," the bench, also comprising Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud, said.
"Desireability is one thing but making it mandatory is another. Citizens cannot be forced to carry patriotism on their sleeves and courts cannot inculcate patriotism among people through its order," the bench said.
During Monday's hearing on the PIL, Attorney General KK Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, said India was a diverse country and the National Anthem needed to be played in the cinema halls to bring in uniformity.
He said it should be left open to the government to take a call on its own discretion on whether the anthem should be played in theatres and whether people should stand up for it.
People stand up as National Anthem is played in a cinema hall | The Hindu