No Need To Stand Up If The National Anthem Is Played In A Film’s Storyline Says Supreme Court

Making a clarification on its earlier judgment the Supreme Court on Tuesday said that the audience need not stand when the National Anthem is played as a part of the storyline of a film, newsreel or documentary.

The court ruling came on a plea seeking clarification on if people are expected to stand when the National Anthem is played in a film, newsreel or documentary.

The apex court had on November 30 ordered cinema halls across the nation to mandatorily play the National Anthem before screening of a movie and the audience must stand and show respect.
The verdict had resulted in confusion and at times violence as people tried to enforce the law themselves.

Many incidents were reported where moviegoers were beaten up for not standing up for the national anthem.

Recently, hearing a petition filed by the organisers of the Kerala Film Festival the court had made it clear that before each movie was screened the national anthem had to be played.

Lately, cinema hall owners seem to be in a fix over issues beyond their jurisdiction, thanks to the ban on Pakistani artists. And another addition to the list that is confusing them is whether to play the national anthem before screening of films. Recently, an actor, Harsh Nagar, filed a PIL in the Delhi HC, seeking an order to make playing of the national anthem compulsory before a film is screened in theatres, like in Maharashtra and Goa. Cinema owners tell us that it is not very practical to play it in theatres, but maintain that they would like to hear the court’s decision first before taking any action.

Maharashtra is a lesson on why we should not play the national anthem: Delhi exhibitors
It is mandatory for exhibitors in Maharashtra and Goa to play the national anthem before a film is screened. Though cinema chains like PVR and INOX play the national anthem there, they refused to comment when asked if they will do so in other cities. Most exhibitors in Delhi say that Maharashtra is a good example to learn the lesson. A cinema chain owner in Delhi says, “Maharashtra is a lesson for exhibitors across the country. It is a chaotic situation when the anthem is played. Those who don’t stand during it are called seditious and anti-national, someone takes offence, someone calls the police.We already have a number of issues, why add more?”