The Supreme Court in India on Wednesday ordered that cinema theatres must play the national anthem before each film screening – underlining that it would instil a sense of committed patriotism and nationalism in citizens.
A bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Amitava Roy also said that everyone present in cinema hall should rise up and pay respect to the anthem when it is played.
The order is coming on the heels of a debate in the country about the rise of aggressive nationalism in India under the Hindu-right wing Bharatiya Janata Party government.
A wheelchair-bound activist was assaulted in the western state of Goa last month for not standing up to the national anthem, sparking widespread criticism.
However, the Apex court further held that when the Anthem is played in movie halls, it should be accompanied with images of the national flag on screen and people must stand up.
It however clarified that the disabled would be exempt.
The Indian Express quoted the court as saying:
“When the national anthem is played it is imperative for everyone to show honour and respect It would instill a sense of committed patriotism and nationalism.”
“Time has come for people to realise that the national anthem is a symbol of constitutional patriotism…people must feel they live in a nation and this wallowing individually perceived notion of freedom must go…people must feel this is my country, my motherland.”