The apex court sought a response from the Centre in four weeks on a plea seeking framing of a policy to promote the national anthem and the national song.
Supreme Court after making it mandatory for movie theatres across the nation to play the national anthem before the screening of movies and for moviegoers to stand up and show respect, the apex court may soon implement the same for direction for Parliament, assemblies, courts, schools and colleges on working days.
On April 18, the apex court sought central government’s response on a PIL that seeks to ascertain the feasibility of singing National Anthem, Song in Parliament, assemblies, courts, schools on working days.
The apex court also sought a response from the Centre in four weeks on a plea seeking framing of a policy to promote the national anthem and the national song.
The petition, filed by Delhi BJP spokesperson and advocate Ashwini Upadhaya, also sought direction for the mandatory singing of national anthem and the national song in Parliament, assemblies, courts, schools and colleges on working days.
The government told the SC, it is "unfortunate" that someone has to knock the doors of the court for ensuring respect to the national flag and national anthem, asserting that respect for them was "non-negotiable".
As the government stated its position on the issue, an apex court bench, comprising Justices Dipak Misra, A M Khanwilkar and M M Shantanagoudar, modified its earlier order to exempt those with disability from standing up at cinema halls when the national anthem is being played.
"We are inclined to modify the orders and direct that the persons who are wheel-chair users, those with autism, persons suffering from cerebral palsy, multiple disabilities, parkinsons, multiple sclerosis, leprosy cured, muscular dystrophy and deaf and blind be treated not to be within the ambit of the orders passed by this Court," the bench said.
At the outset, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the bench "it is unfortunate that someone has to approach this court for ensuring due respect to the national flag and national anthem but what is most unfortunate that some section is opposing it.
"Respect for the national anthem and the national flag is non- negotiable, and every citizen is bound to show due respect to the symbols of national pride."
The bench also allowed the amendment of an earlier PIL by one Shyam Narayan Chouksey and asked the petitioner to file an amended petition with additional grounds within two weeks and allowed intervention application of Maharashtra and Rajasthan.
On the original petition, Chouksey sought 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 posts are present.
During the hearing, senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi appearing for Chouksey said a direction should be issued to the government to amend the law as there were penal provisions for those who disrespect the national flag, but there are no such provisions for those who show disrespect to the anthem.
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.