The Supreme Court today sought response from the Centre in four weeks on a plea seeking framing of a policy for promoting the national anthem and the national song. A bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra issued notice and asked the Centre to file its reply on the plea which also sought to ascertain the feasibility of singing the national anthem and the national song in Parliament, assemblies, courts, schools and colleges on working days. The petition filed by advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay sought directions for taking steps to promote brotherhood and national integrity in the country. On February 17, the apex court had refused to go into the debate for making singing of the national song mandatory in schools and clarified that it has “kept alive” such a plea only for the national anthem without expressing any view on it.
The apex court had on November 30 last year ordered cinema halls across the nation to mandatorily play the national anthem before screening of a movie when the audience must stand and show respect. The order had come on a PIL filed by one Shyam Narayan Chouksey seeking directions that the national anthem should be played in cinema halls across the country before a film begins and proper norms and protocol be fixed regarding its playing and singing at official functions and programmes where those holding constitutional office are present.
The apex court, while passing a slew of directions, had also observed that “time has come when citizens must realise they live in a nation and are duty-bound to show respect to the national anthem which is a symbol of constitutional patriotism and inherent national quality”. The apex court had in February clarified that the audience need not stand when the national anthem is sung or played in the storyline of a feature film or part of a newsreel or documentary.