SC rules National Anthem not mandatory in cinema halls; Opposition, experts welcome move

The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday modified its earlier order on playing the National Anthem in cinema halls, and made it non-mandatory. It took cognisance of the Centre's submission which asked the court to modify the order.

 SC rules National Anthem not mandatory in cinema halls; Opposition, experts welcome move

File image of Supreme Court of India. Reuters

Soon after the verdict came through, various celebrities, political parties and their respective spokespersons reacted on the issue, most of them welcoming the decision.

Lok Sabha MP Asaduddin Owaisi told CNN-News18 that he has always been opposed to the direction to play the National Anthem in cinema halls. "One must respect the National Anthem but there is a place and time to play it. It must only be done on solemn occasions," said Owaisi. "

The Samajwadi Party (SP) also praised the verdict, and saw in it a response to the "BJP's brand of hyper-nationalism". "The government's U-turn on National Anthem issue proves their hyper-nationalism was a 'jumla', just like their stand on corruption, black money, etc," SP spokesperson Ghanshyam Tiwari told CNN-News18.


Tiwari added that the verdict would herald a major change in 2018. "The verdict is important and makes me hopeful that 2018 will be not a year of anger but of harmony. For the last two years, we have seen how BJP spokespersons telling others how to respect the anthem and other national symbols. They accused others of being anti-national. But this verdict shows everybody is equally patriotic," he added.

BJP spokesperson GVL Narsimha Rao said a decision on the National Anthem row would have to be an executive and not a judicial order. "The court promulgated the judicial order in November 2016. They subsequently held the view that this cannot be a judicial order but an executive order for the government of the day. This decision has to be seen as a technical interpretation of the judicial jurisdiction. The govt has appointed a committee to go into the issue and make appropriate recommendations," he said.

Padma Bhushan recipient and veteran filmmaker Shyam Benegal called it a "rational and sensible decision". "It doesn't make sense to compel people to stand for the National Anthem. It's a decision that I endorse, because it's common sense," Benegal was quoted as saying by Times Now.

Congress spokesperson Sanjay Jha said if the National Anthem is played in a cinema hall today, he'd stand, but welcomed the court's decision to make the act voluntary. "Patriotism is a deeper human instinct, and we shouldn't make a symbolism out of it. People who are physically challenged are assaulted for failing to stand. People might just be exhausted at the end of the day. There was a time when theatres weren't playing the National Anthem in movies," Jha was quoted as saying by News18.

Jha tweeted:

Updated Date: Jan 09, 2018 14:37:14 IST