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Indian Polity

Justice Misra had reasoned that the practice would “instil a feeling of committed patriotism and nationalism.”

Finally, the court left it to the government to bring out any notification, if necessary, to make or not make the playing of the anthem mandatory in cinema halls. The case was posted for hearing on January 9, 2018.

The court had modified the November 2016 order twice, once to exempt physically and mentally challenged people from standing up in cinema halls for the anthem.

Now, sitting beside Chief Justice Misra, Justice Chandrachud referred to the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act of 1971 to observe that “there is no mandate that people should stand up when the national anthem is sung in a cinema hall. This is obviously because a cinema hall is a place for entertainment ... people go to cinema halls for undiluted entertainment. Society needs entertainment.”

“You don’t have to stand up at a cinema hall to be perceived as patriotic,” Justice Chandrachud observed.

The judge was responding to submissions by Attorney-General K.K. Venugopal, for the Centre, in support of the November 2016 order.

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