The Supreme Court in India on Wednesday ordered that cinema theatres must play the national anthem before each film screening - underlining that it would instil a sense of committed patriotism and nationalism in citizens. The court added that any edited version of the national anthem can't be played in any form for any goal, especially in commercial ads.
SC ruled that nobody can print or display the Anthem on any undesirable object, and also barred it from being played on variety shows and its abridged version anywhere.
Justice Dipak Misra also noted that the Directive Principles of State Policy, namely, Article 51 A compelled the citizens of the country to award due respect to symbols of national integrity and pride.
The national anthem must be played in all cinemas before movie screenings and all exits will be shut during that time, the Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday.
The issue has always been controversial in India, where some liberals say freedom of speech is being stifled by the right-wing nationalist government now in power. People should imbibe and express respect to the inherent quality of the anthem and the flag, it said.
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Last month, a disabled man described how he was attacked in a cinema in western India for failing to stand for the anthem. The top court further directed the Centre that the order be given effect in a week's time and be circulated to all the states and UTs.
The act prohibits desecration of or insult to the Constitution, national anthem, flag and the country's map. But when you are here, you don't want restrictions.
In 2003, then Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) youth wing president Narendra Verma had made a representation to the Maharashtra government in this regard.
He urged the court to lay down norms regarding playing of the national anthem in cinema halls, entertainment programs and in official functions. People are not standing up in cinema halls when national anthem is being played.