The Supreme Court on Monday put the onus on the Centre for amending the laws for regulating the playing of the national anthem in cinema halls.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra refused to modify its November order under which it had issued a slew of directions on when and how the national anthem must be played.
The court had directed all movie halls and theatres to play the national anthem before the start of a play, movie or any other programme and said audiences must stand up and pay respect to the national anthem in a bid to instil a sense of committed patriotism and nationalism.
Though the court did not recall its order, it indicated that it may modify the November order once the Centre put in place a new circular or framework on the matter.
Justice D.Y. Chandrachud opposed the practice of mandatory standing up for the national anthem before a movie, saying, “Just because a person does not stand up for it, does not mean that they are anti-national. People go to watch movies for entertainment and when will this moral policing stop?”
He added that there was no need for people to wear their patriotism on their sleeve and that there could be no end to moral policing on this issue.
The court was hearing a PIL by Shyam Narayan Chouksey, which was the basis for the November 2016 order, seeking mandatory playing of the national anthem in cinema halls before every screening and for everyone in the audience to show respect by standing up. With the plaintiff also seeking several other directions, the main case and other tagged cases are still pending.