April 24, 2018

Indians need not to 'wear patriotism on their sleeves', says Supreme Court

25 October 2017, 12:51 | Simon Arnold

The Supreme Court of India

The Supreme Court of India

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 apex court instead asked the Centre to take a call on it as the issue falls under the purview of the government.

In 2016, the apex court had stated that playing the national anthem in the theatres should be undertaken as a practice to "instil a feeling of committed patriotism and nationalism".

However, despite the hullabaloo, the November 2016 order hasn't been struck down, or recalled.

The Lok Sabha MP from Hyderabad said a cinema hall is not a place to display patriotism. Till the decision is made, playing the National Anthem in the halls would remain mandatory. In the recent developments of the matter, a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud asked to take a call on the Centre's plea of playing the national anthem in cinema halls in India.

The bench also believed that not singing the national anthem in the theatres can not be the hallmark of a citizen's patriotism and one shouldn't be judged on this ground which reflects moral policing. "Where then can we draw the line on moral policing", said Justice Chandrachud, who was most vocal in demanding Government to respond.

The SC also reiterated that Article 51A was a fundamental duty that is unenforceable. As the government, you have the power. The court said that it would not let the government shoot from its shoulders and hence it is the centre which must take the call. There's much irony in standing up for national anthem in a somber manner and watching a slapstick comedy on the big screen afterwards. It added that the court can not inculcate patriotism through its orders. The order, delivered in November 2016, was a sad commentary on the top court's credentials as the ultimate arbiter of individual rights. "Nowadays, anthem is played during matches, tournaments and even Olympics where half of the crowd does not understand its meaning", Justice Chandrachud said.

The next hearing will be conducted on 9th January.

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