Standing in cinema halls will never inculcate patriotism: Asaduddin Owaisi

The Supreme Court of India

The Supreme Court of India

The apex court added that people "cannot be forced to carry patriotism on their sleeves", and asked the Centre to consider changing the rules which regulate the playing of the national anthem before a film in the country.

This Court remarked on the PIL filed previous year by Shyam Narayan Chouksey challenging the court's directions about playing national anthem in all the cinema halls. Amending the national flag code for regulating the playing of national anthem in cinema halls across the country would be taken into consideration or not in the hearing.

Playing of the national anthem fostered national unity in a vast and diverse country like India, A-G Venugopal told the court on Monday, referring to fundamental duties that ask citizens to respect the flag and the anthem.

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

He reiterated that a movie hall is a place for entertainment and the government has the power to change the law as the issue falls under the executive. Till the decision is made, playing the National Anthem in the halls would remain mandatory. People go to cinema halls for undiluted entertainment.

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During the hearing, Justice Chandrachud was critical of the apex court's order as well as the central government's stand of defending it. Article 51A is not enforceable.

However, Venugopal said the government would take a call. By passing the buck to the government, the SC in a way reminded one of its 2013 order on Section 377, in which case too it said that the government must legislate. It added that the court can not inculcate patriotism through its orders.

Putting the final nail on the coffin, Justice Chandrachud said, "The point is that values are inculcated - not mandated". "Standing during national anthem can not be a test of someone's patriotism", Mr Asaduddin Owaisi said. It may modify its December 1, 2016 order, indicated the bench.

The court put the matter arising out of a PIL by Shyam Narayan Chouksey, a retired engineer from Bhopal, for further consideration on January 9. We do not know what the government wants.

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