Saying a citizen “doesn’t have to wear patriotism on his sleeves all the time”, the Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre to take a call on the playing of the national anthem in public places, including cinema halls.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said it might modify the wording of its 2016 order on the issue to state that cinema halls “may” instead of “shall” play the national anthem before the start of movies.
On November 30 last year, the Supreme Court ordered that the national anthem must be played in cinema halls across the country before a movie starts in order to instil a sense of patriotism and nationalism.
The bench on Monday told the Centre not to be influenced by the 2016 order on the playing of national anthem in the theatres while taking a fresh call.
Attorney General K.K. Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, said India was a diverse country and the national anthem needed to be played in cinema halls to bring in a feeling of uniformity.
The bench responded: “Not singing national anthem in movie halls was not a sign of being anti-national.”
The court had said last year that it would be mandatory for all those in the cinemas to stand up as a sign of respect when the anthem is played. Later, in December 2016, the court modified its order to say that handicapped persons need not stand up.