The Supreme Court has asked the Centre to come up guidelines to regulate the playing of the National Anthem in public places, including movie theatres. This now places the onus on the government to decide whether it should be mandatory for people to stand for the National Anthem or not.
The top court’s direction to the Centre came even as it refused to change its earlier order that made it mandatory for cinema halls to play the National Anthem before the start of movie screenings, news agency ANI reported.
The apex court was reported as saying patriotism cannot be forced through court orders and that whether or not a person stand for the Anthem cannot be used as a measure of patriotism.
The Supreme Court on November 30, 2016, had made it mandatory for movie halls to play the National Anthem before the screening of movies. It had later clarified that movie watchers would not be obliged to stand for the anthem if it is part of the film that is being screened.
There have since been numerous incidents where people have been harassed at movie halls for not standing during the Anthem. In some cases, it has also turned out that the person who faced the ire of fellow movie goers for not standing was differently abled.
The move has since attracted controversy, with pitched arguments online both in favour of and against the move.