The Supreme Court on Wednesday made it mandatory for movie theatres to play the National Anthem and display the National Flag on the screen before the start of a movie. This move however, is not new to Indian Movie halls. Tried and tested, the practice was stopped in 1975.
Before 1975, it was a custom to play the National Anthem in theatres, albeit after the movie screening. It was, however, banned because of the disrespect by people towards the National Anthem. People would not stand up or pay attention when the Anthem was being played.
With disrespect towards the Anthem defeating the purpose of playing it in the first place, it was decided, for the better, to do away with it. The Madras High court in 2015 had quoted the Union Home Minister communication on the same while dismissing a petition. The Madras HC said that in its January 5, 2015 communication to Chief Secretaries of all states, the Home Ministry stated that 'standing in cinema halls was bound to interrupt the exhibition of the film'. It added that it 'would create disorder and confusion rather than add to the dignity of the anthem'.