SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — India’s Supreme Court has ruled that the national anthem must be played in every cinema in the country before the screening of a film.
Judges said the order must be enforced within the next 10 days, and audiences will be required to stand while the anthem is broadcast. The ruling is a bit nostalgic to the days of the 1960s and 70s, when cinemas regularly played the national anthem before screenings.
The ruling has received a split opinion on social media.
There is no uniform law in India regarding the anthem and the 29 states have had their own laws on the issue. According to the latest ruling, the anthem must be played in all cinemas, accompanied by an image of the Indian flag at the conclusion. “The people should stop following individual notions of freedom and have a sense of committed patriotism,” Indian media reports quoted judges as saying.
The hashtag #NationalAnthem was one of the top trends on Twitter India on Wednesday afternoon.
Shyam Narayan Chouksey, a 77-year-old resident of Bhopal, petitioned the court asking for the national anthem order.
“Over the years I’ve been seeing that the proper respect for the national anthem is not being paid by the common people as well as the constitutional functionaries,” he told BBC.
Shaina NC, spokesperson for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP party, called the court ruling a “fantastic” move.
While there remains no specific law in India which requires you to stand during the playing of the national anthem, the home ministry’s rules, which carry the force of law, specify that it is compulsory to stand to attention when the anthem is played. And cinemas that play the anthem often display messages asking audiences to stand up.
There is plenty of evidence to suggest, at least in India, that you could be hurt physically for refusing to stand during the playing of the national anthem.
In October, a disabled man alleged that he was assaulted for not standing during the playing of the anthem at a cinema. Salil Chaturvedi, who has been using a wheelchair since 1984, was attending a screening with his wife when he was attacked. Last year, a group of people were thrown out of a cinema hall for not standing during the playing of the anthem. And in 2014, a man was beaten senseless by a mob in Mumbai after his visiting friend from South Africa did not stand during the anthem.