Shyam Narayan Chouksey vs Union of India & Others.
Writ petition (Civil) N0. 855 OF 2016
Shyam Narayan Chouksey vs Union of India & Others is an important case in India which deals with inculcating a proper sense of paying respect to the National Anthem.It mentions that what needs to be done and what should not be done while playing or singing the National Anthem. The petitioner under article 32 of the constitution of India approached the court to issue the writ of mandamus to
- Specify and understand what abuse and disrespect is to the National Anthem.
- To restrain the use of the National Anthem for any commercial or to have any advantage that may be financial in any sense.
The petitioner put forward these questions to understand the difference between respect and disrespect of National Anthem. The court examined the case and made observations for paying due respect to National Anthem and National Flag of our country.
In this case, the petitioner moved to the Supreme Court under Article 32 of the constitution for the issue of writ of mandamus or any other writ that deems fit by the court commanding the Union of India to take any additional steps required for inculcating in public a proper sense of respect towards the National Anthem. The petitioner Shyam Narayan Chouksey believes that the means by which national anthem is disrespected and what constitutes abuse and disrespect to the symbols of the nation such as National Flag, National Anthem and Constitution of India is still not clear to the public at large.
- The case Shyam Narayan Chouksey vs Union of India & Others deals with what constitutes respect and disrespect to the National Anthem i.e. what needs to be done while the National Anthem is being sung or played?
- Are the submissions made by learned Attorney General of India Mr. Mukul Rohtagi also valid for disabled people of India? As disabled people faced difficulties due to the submissions made by the learned Attorney General of India.
- National Anthem and National Flag as the symbol of secular nation.
The petitioner under Article 32 of Indian Constitution approached the court to issue the writ of mandamus specify and understand what abuse is and disrespect is to the National Anthem. After the notice was issued learned Attorney General of India Mr. Mukul Rohtagi came into the case and passed an interim order with some directions which must be followed by each and every citizen of India.
- There shall be no commercial exploitation which might give anyone a financial advantage or any benefit to anyone. National Anthem shall not be utilized by anyone for their benefit which might give any commercial or any sought of benefit.
- No dramatization of the National Anthem
- National Anthem shall not be printed or not be displayed in any manner which might bring disrespect to its status.
- All the cinema halls in India shall play National Anthem before the film starts and everyone needs to stand up to show respect to the National Anthem.
- The entry and the exit doors ought to be closed while the National Anthem is being played at the cinema halls. This ensures no disturbance to disrespect the National Anthem.
- The National Flag should be on screen of cinema halls while National Anthem is played.
- The short or abridged version of National Anthem shall not be played.
Two applications soon were filed to recall the interim order passed by the Attorney General of India. Which questioned about how people who are physically disabled can show respect to National Anthem in cinema halls? There must be some exemption to this. To which the learned Attorney General of India submitted guidelines for the physically handicapped or challenged persons which shall be approved by the Central Government. He said a person who is physically challenged or handicapped does not need to stand up if he/she is incapable to stand up but must show conduct which shows respect to the National Anthem.
On the next hearing dated February 14 2017, applications were filed relating to difficulties faced further by disabled persons. The court appointed the learned counsel Mr. Sidharth Luthra who looked into the matter and highlighted certain matters which was passed by the court. The learned counsel said that people are not expected to stand up in cinema halls while the National Anthem is played before the start of the feature film. Mr. Subhash Chandran, learned counsel submitted that he may be permitted to submit an application on behalf of the National Platform for Rights of Disabled. Mr. Abhinav Shrivastava a learned counsel appearing for the petitioner raised contentions:
- The Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act 1971 section 3 only deals with singing, playing of National Anthem but does not deal fully with how respect should be shown. Hence measures need to be described by the court.
- Article 51 A of the Constitution states every citizen of India should respect the constitution and its National Flag, Anthem.
- Order passed by the court should be recalled and changes ought to be made.
The court said that committee appointed by the Union of India shall submit its recommendations. The order as passed on 30 November 2016 shall be modified andplaying of National Anthem is cinema halls in not mandatory but optional. The court disposed of the writ petition.
The pride of any Nation is the symbols representing the nation such as National Anthem, National Flag and the Constitution of the Nation. Respect towards National Symbols is the duty of every citizen of India under Article 51(A) and promotes a sense of oneness and nationalism among the public. This case revolves around the issue of National Anthem, what constitutes disrespect of National Anthem and the issue of standing up in movie halls while National Anthem is played.
The Judgment of this case dated 9th January, 2018 was delivered by Learned CJI Dipak Mishra. The Hon’ble Supreme Court while relying upon Union of India v. Naveen Jindal, stated that National Anthem and National Flag cannot be disrespected and every citizen is obliged to show respect, however the cinema halls may not be the suitable place as people come here for unobstructed entertainment. The court further held that symbols representing the nation deserve a significant amount of respect as they serve as the elan vital of the Nation and promote a sense of unity and integrity among the public. The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India concluded its judgment by stating that the playing of national anthems is not mandatory and shall be left to the discretion of the concerned persons. However, whenever the National Anthem is played or sung, people are bound to show respect as required under executive orders thereby dismissing the petition.
The court judged a very important case on 9th January, 2018 involving a plethora of feelings, emotions and patriotism. The case is important because it dealt with the issue of National Anthem and this case was dealt with great interpretations which was necessary as National Anthem is a national symbol representing the nation.
The case was judged finely while taking care of each minute details regarding what constitutes disrespect towards national anthem. The case was judged on the basis of merit, facts and evidences supported which eventually led to the increase in the intensity of the case. The issues in this case were mainly what constitute disrespect towards national symbols as it is a very ambiguous topic and the need of national anthems being played in cinema halls before the movie?
The case was judged appropriately and it poses a serious question on whether the national symbols are respected the way they should be? Or the essence of national symbols is just not clear to the public and taken for granted?
AUTHORED BY :
Siddharth Baskar, BA LLB(Hons.), Amity Law School
Atishay Sethi, B.B.A LLB (Hons.), B.V.D.U Law College