The Supreme Court on Wednesday passed an interim order mandating that the National Anthem be played before the screening of every film in cinema halls. The order was passed by a bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Amitava Roy in relation to a PIL filed by Shyam Narayan Chouksey.
This is not the first time the debate around the National Anthem has surfaced. Several incidents in the past have stirred controversy where people have been manhandled in theatres for not rising when the national anthem is played.
The interesting thing about this judgment however, is that 13 years ago, Chouksey had filed a similar petition with relation to the film “Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham” and the “commercial use of the National Anthem” in the film in the Madhya Pradesh High Court. The HC had ruled in Chouksey’s favour then. And the bench (coincidentally?) was presided by Justice Dipak Misra, reports Bar and Bench.
Chouksey’s 2003 petition was referring to a scene where Kajol gets emotional when her son sings the Indian National Anthem at school in the US. She then completes the anthem when he forgets the final lines. Chouksey was also pained by the fact that people did not stand up when the anthem was played.
The judgment passed in 2003 and now, also carry similar sentiments with regard to the symbolism of the National Anthem. The 2003 judgment said that the anthem stood for India’s “history, unity and pride” and that the fundamental rights of an individual must be read with Article 51A, which lists the fundamental duties as per Directive Principles of State Policy. The recent judgment also refers to Article 51A and a similar argument.
The Supreme Court had later overturned the MP High Court order, as per some instructions issued by the Central government, saying:
“national anthem which is exhibited in the course of exhibition of newsreel or documentary or in a film, the audience is not expected to stand as the same interrupts the exhibition of the film and would create disorder and confusion, rather than add to the dignity of the national anthem.”
While Chouksey filed a review petition against the SC’s judgment then, the case was ultimately disposed because Chouksey was not represented at the hearing. While the SC withdrew its earlier order and dismissed the case, it also said that “the questions of the law would remain open”.
When asked about these similarities in the two cases, Chouksey told Utkarsh Anand for the Indian Express that this was a “mere coincidence” and his current petition is in the context of recent incidents which have insulted the National Anthem.http://www.thenewsminute.com/article/just-coincidence-13-years-ago-same-judge-same-petitioner-and-national-anthem-debate-53675