NEWS

SC Modifies Order On National Anthem, Exempts People With Physical Disabilities

But SC says they must show "some such gesture" to express their respect.

09/12/2016 7:44 PM IST | Updated 09/12/2016 9:48 PM IST
B Mathur / Reuters
A view of the Indian Supreme Court building.

NEW DELHI -- The Supreme Court on Friday modified its order on the National Anthem and exempted people with physical disabilities from standing before screening of a movie in cinema halls across the nation.

It also clarified that doors of theatres need not be bolted when the National Anthem is played.

The order was passed by a bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and Amitava Roy, which agreed to hear the plea seeking recall of its order mandating playing of the National Anthem before films.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi informed the apex court that the Centre will issue guidelines within ten days from today on how physically challenged persons should show respect to the National Anthem.

The court, however, said that people with disabilities must show "some such gesture" to express their respect for anthem.

"As the guidelines are going to be issued, we clarify, if a physically challenged person or physically handicapped person goes to the Cinema hall to watch a film, he need not stand up, if he is incapable to stand, but must show such conduct which is commensurate with respect for the National Anthem...

"Another aspect needs to be cleared. When we said that the doors shall be closed, we did not mean that the doors shall be bolted as mentioned in the case of Municipal Corporation of Delhi, Delhi vs. Uphaar Tragedy Victims Association and Ors.

...but only to regulate the ingress and egress during the period while the National Anthem is played," the bench said.

The matter is now fixed for hearing on February 14, 2017.

The clarification came after an organiser of an international film festival in Kerala moved the apex court seeking exemption from the November 30 on the ground that it would cause inconvenience to its 1,500 foreign guests.

In a bid to "instil committed patriotism and nationalism", the top court had ordered cinema halls across the nation to mandatorily play the National Anthem before screening of a movie and the audience must stand and show respect.

The apex court had said that "love and respect for the motherland is reflected when one shows respect to the National Anthem as well as to the National Flag".

The court's directions came on a PIL filed by one Shyam Narayan Chouksey seeking directions that the National Anthem should be played in cinema halls across the country before a film begins and proper norms and protocol be fixed regarding its playing and singing at official functions and programmes where those holding constitutional office are present.

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