Acting on a PIL seeking directions for playing the national anthem in cinema halls before beginning of a movie, the Supreme Court has asked the Centre to specify what would constitute disrespect to it and its abuse.
The order was passed by a bench of justices Dipak Misra and Amitava Roy while hearing a petition referring to the provisions of the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971 and also alleging that the national anthem was sung in various circumstances which were not permissible.
The PIL filed by Shyam Narayan Chouksey has 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 the programmes where constitutional dignitaries are present.
The matter will now be heard on November 30.
The petition, filed through advocate Abhinav Srivastava, said the national anthem should be respected and due honour should be shown to it by every citizen. It also gave certain suggestions to avoid alleged abuses to it.
"There should be no commercial exploitation to gain financial advantage or any kind of benefit. There should be no interruption in between till the completion of national anthem and no abridged version shall be sung at any point of time.
"There should not be dramatisation of the national anthem and it should not be sung in an entertainment programme," the plea suggested.
It also said the anthem should not be sung before those who do not understand it unless they are properly apprised that when the National Anthem of India is to be played, they are required to show respect.
"It should not be printed on undesirable objects and should not be displayed in such a manner and at such places which may be disgraceful to its status and may tantamount to disrespect," the plea said.
The plea also cited instances where the anthem was allegedly abused, including one in which the anthem was played in entertainment shows in order to "dramatise the whole thing".
(With PTI inputs)