- The national anthem comes under the Prevention of Insults to the National Honour Act of 1971.
- Previously in 1986, the same court held that law can not enforce anyone to sing the national anthem.
- The US Supreme Court has protected the right to burn their flag as part of the right to constitutionally protected free speech.
Recently, the Supreme Court of India directed movie halls to play the national anthem before the screening of any movie while showing the national flag on screen and also as a sign of respect audiences have been asked to stand up during this patriotic moment.
As this order impacted every one of us, so definitely it generated curiosity, initiated debates and people took to social media to voice their opinion.
The recent development in this matter is that 12 individuals including 2 women got detained by police at the International Festival of Kerala (IFFK) for not standing up during the national anthem.
In a separate incident, a group of 20 people in Chennai assaulted 8 people including 3 women for not standing up during the national anthem ceremony in a cinema hall.
The apex court in its order mentions that standing up while the national anthem is being played a “sacred obligation” to the audience in movie halls and it explicitly dismissed “any different notion or the perception of individual rights”. In fact, the court also ordered that the doors of the hall must be close during the time when the anthem is played.
In short, this more is a good example of enforced nationalism and reject any other notion or individual opinion of nationalism.
In the recent past of India, enforced nationalism has been a major issue and concern that has been grabbing the attention of one and all.
But, the intervention of Supreme Court and the fresh order regarding the national anthem surely invokes much more attention as the violation of it has legal repercussions.
The national anthem comes under the Prevention of Insults to the National Honour Act of 1971 that nowhere makes it mandatory to stand up during the playing of national anthem and the recent order also do not prescribe any punishment for the defaulter.
This order came after a public interest litigation was filed for making audience stand when national anthem being played in movie halls. The court without asking the purpose of such an act or what fundamental right is involved decided to go ahead and pass the order at a time where there are several serious matters waiting for the orders of Supreme Court.
Interestingly, previously in 1986, the same court hold that law can not enforce anyone to sing the national anthem.
In short, the order passed by the Supreme Court in the recent PIL can be seen just as a case of enforced nationalism, and it does not serve any order purpose.
Even in the US, the right to burn their flag as part of the right to constitutionally protected free speech has been upheld by their apex court despite several appeals raised at the different point of times.
Since India is known as a country of unity in diversity, and the Constitution of India protects the right to freedom and ensures peaceful co-existence such 'enforced nationalism' will lead to nothing but chaos and can pose a threat to our democracy.
It is high time Supreme Court should revise its order related to the national anthem and introspect its stand on the same.
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 6:58 PM IST