In a major departure from its order mandating cinema halls to play the national anthem before screening of any movie, the Supreme Court on Monday said such a direction, if at all, has to come from the Government.
The Court then proceeded to order that the Centre may take a call on the issue one way or the other by issuing an appropriate notification/circular.
The court had made it mandatory for all those in the cinemas to stand up as a sign of respect when the anthem is played. At that time, the Supreme Court had said that the playing of National Anthem will promote patriotism and nationalism.
At one point, Justice AM Khanwilkar reacted to lawyers' submissions that the National Anthem is played in cinema halls in States like Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh, saying if it is good for Maharashtra, it may be good for other States.
It had also said proper norms and protocol should be fixed regarding its playing and singing at official functions and programmes where those holding constitutional office are present. Later, in December 2016, the court modified its order to say that handicapped persons need not stand up.
Justifying its U-turn on the issue, the Bench said, "People go to movie halls for undiluted entertainment".
On November 30 2016, the apex court has laterly clarifies that movie watchers would not be obliged to stand for the anthem if it is part of the film that is being screened. plently of incident have been reports that people have been harassed at movie halls for not standing during the Anthem.
The Centre should pass an order without being influenced by the earlier interim order that would remain in force till the Centre takes a final decision, the court said.
"Why do we have to wear patriotism on our sleeves?" Justice Chandrachud observed and told Attorney General Venugopal that what the court was being asked to do could be done by the Centre. These are all matters of entertainment. Can you say this is disrespect to the national anthem? Where do we draw a line? Why people should assume that everyone who don't sing or stand for the national anthem is not patriotic. The bench was hearing an application from a Kerala-based film society seeking to recall the November 30, 2016, order on the ground that it amounted to judicial legislation. Justice Chandrachud said: "People wear shorts and go to cinema".