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SC modifies its National Anthem order, carves out exception for differently abled


National Anthem in Cinemas
National Anthem in Cinemas

Court blasts Petitioner for seeking exemption for Forigners from standing during National Anthem at Film Festivals

Yesterday Supreme Court finally modified its November 30 order mandating playing of National Anthem in all Cinema Halls.

It has now exempted physically challenged persons from standing up in cinema halls when the national anthem is played.

In its earlier order dt. November 30, the Supreme Court had directed that cinema halls have to mandatorily play the National Anthem and directed all those present there to stand up to show respect to it.

The Apex Court said this would instil a feeling of committed patriotism and nationalism in the Citizens.

While modifying the November 30 order, the SC Bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Amitava Roy observed that whenever a physically challenged person person goes to the cinema hall to watch a film, he need not stand up if he is incapable to stand.

Term “physically-handicapped persons” was refered to its definition under Sections 2(i) and 2(t) of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995.

Section 2 (i) of the above Act defines ‘disability’ as “blindness, low vision, leprosy-cured, hearing impairment, loco motor disability, mental retardation, mental illness.”

Section 2 (t) defines a ‘person with disability’ as somebody suffering from not less than 40 per cent of any disability as certified by a medical authority.

Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi apprised the Court that the government would in the next 10 days frame guidelines on “how the physically challenged persons shall show respect to the National Anthem.”

Another clarification issued is that when the doors are to be “closed” in cinema halls during the rendition of the anthem it did not mean that the doors would be bolted from outside or inside.

Supreme Court’s refered to its own judgment in 2011 in the Uphaar fire tragedy in this aspect.

In that case Apex court had forbidden cinema Halls to lock their doors when patrons were inside the building.

Closeure of Doors was ordered only to regulate the ingress and egress while the national anthem is played.

Judge ‘jolted’ by the Petitioner’s plea

The clarificatory order was passed on a plea by a film society participating in the 21st International Film Festival being held in Kerala.

But the Bench took serious exception to the Society’s plea that at the festival International Delegates were facing difficulties standing up for the anthem.

SC Justice said that he is jolted by this ground. Supreme Court can’t be asked to oblige foreign delegates by recalling its order.

Justice Roy asked while you say they have to stand five times when the national anthem is played we say why not rise 20 times?

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