- The Constitution does not dictate that it is mandatory to stand while the National Anthem is being played
- These so-called patriots remember the SC ruling but choose to ignore the Constitution on freedom of expression
Let’s get into the legalities first. Here’s a detail of what the Constitution says about the National Anthem:
The Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971 is an Act of the Parliament of India which prohibits desecration of or insult to the country's national symbols, including the National Flag, The Constitution, Indian map and the National Anthem. Under the heading Prevention of Singing of the National Anthem, it is mentioned that anyone intentionally ‘preventing’ the singing of the Indian National Anthem or causing disturbances to any assembly engaged in such singing shall be punished with imprisonment for a term, which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.
The Supreme Court of India, meanwhile, after hearing petitions from a lot righteous people has come to conclusion that ‘desecration and insult’ to the National Anthem can only be stopped if all the people stand up in attention while listening to the Indian National Anthem.
Off late, the Supreme Court has started acting as the moral police and conscience of the country. It has passed many orders related to religion and personal law which infringes on a person’s fundamental rights, while other important issues lie waiting in the pipeline.
Thanks to the SC order the public has taken it upon themselves to become custodians of the Indian national anthem. What do you make of these incidents?
Nowhere in the Constitution does it dictate that it is mandatory to stand while the National Anthem is being played, yet the SC has gone ahead and made it a punishable offence. Does only standing up while the national anthem is being played amount to respect and honour? While the rest of the time the people can resort to rioting? Then our notions of honour are seriously flawed. Does this order by SC also allow the public to take the law into their hands and beat up people and order the arrest of citizens willy-nilly?
To those who make the rules at the Supreme Court, we the people of India come under a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic umbrella as guaranteed by the Constitution. Sadly, the meaning of these words are twisted according to the situation and needs. These so-called patriots remember the SC ruling but choose to ignore the Constitution on freedom of expression and freedom of speech. Selective hearing and understanding, isn’t it?
When it comes to my national identity, I call myself an Indian, and along with that I also remember my rights as an Indian and it does not involve policing or beating up another individual. When it comes to national integrity, I feel united with others when I sing the anthem but if someone does not choose to stand and sing along with me, I cannot force the other to do so, his opinion on integrity may be different from mine. Thirdly, let us just not talk about constitutional patriotism because the constitutional part is being completely ignored. Has the SC forgotten that it is dealing with different individuals?
So there you go, now the Supreme Court is encouraging goondas as well. Interestingly police have refused to register a case against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers who sang National Anthem in front of director Kamal's residence. According to then there is no law prohibiting the singing of the National Anthem ‘the constitution does not forbid the National Anthem to be sung in the middle of the road’. The purpose of their singing was neither respectful nor patriotic. It was rather a mockery and yet incidences like these are allowed to slide by in the name of teaching people patriotism.
Already we have moral police teaching couples how to love and who to love and what to wear, incidentally, the Supreme Court is also involved in the clothing debates and where women can go and not go. Now few narrow-minded individuals carrying the baton of patriotism on behalf of the SC will create chaos and not one of them knows the importance of the National Anthem or the constitution.
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 6:31 PM IST