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Audience need not stand up when Anthem played in Films: Supreme Court

Supreme Court clarifies the fact that the audience need not stand up while the National Anthem is being played during the screening of a film

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Supreme Court of India. Wikimedia commons

New Delhi, Feb 14, 2017:  It was clarified by the Supreme Court today that the audience need not stand up when the National Anthem is played as a part of the story-line of a film, documentary or newsreel.

According to PTI reports, A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and R Banumathi made this much-anticipated clarification after one of the petitioners said that the apex court should clarify if people are supposed to stand when the National Anthem is being played in a film, newsreel or documentary.

“It is clarified that when the National Anthem is played as part of the storyline of a film, newsreel or a documentary the audience need not stand,” the bench stated.

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The matter has been fixed for further hearing on April 18 by the bench, which said the issue raised by petitioners needs to be debated.

On November 30 last year, cinema halls across the nation were ordered by the apex court to mandatorily play the National Anthem before the screening of any movie . The audience had to stand up during the anthem and show respect.

This order had come on the PIL filed by one Shyam Narayan Chouksey seeking directions that National Anthem should be played in cinema halls across the country before the beginning of a film and proper norms and protocol should be fixed when it comes to the playing and singing of the National Anthem at official functions and events in the presence of those holding constitutional office.

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It had also been observed by the apex court, while passing a slew of directions that “time has come when citizens must realise they live in a nation and are bound by duty to show respect to National Anthem which is a symbol of constitutional patriotism and inherent national quality.”

It had also mentioned that, “When one shows respect to the National Anthem as well as to the National Flag, love and respect for the motherland is reflected”.

Printing of the anthem or part of it on any object and showcasing it in such a manner at certain places which may be “disgraceful to its status and tantamount to disrespect” had been barred by the orders of the court. Playing or displaying an “abridged version” of the anthem had also been strictly prohibited.

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The apex court has been approached by various other petitioners. The court has tagged them with and the bench has tagged with the main petition.

– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang


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Malaysian Rapper’s Dog Video Sparks Claim of Insulting Islam

"I am not afraid because I believe Malaysia has justice,"

Wee Meng Chee, left, a Malaysian rapper popularly known as Namewee, is escorted by plainclothes policemen on his arrival at the magistrate court in Penang, Malaysia. VOA

Malaysian police said a popular ethnic Chinese rapper has been detained over complaints that his latest music video featuring dancers wearing dog masks and performing “obscene” moves insulted Islam and could hurt racial harmony.

It was the second time in two years that Wee Meng Chee, popularly known as Namewee, has been investigated over his music videos.

Police said in a statement that Wee was detained Thursday after they received four public complaints that his video marking the Chinese year of the dog had “insulted Islam and could negatively impact racial unity and harmony.”

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In the video entitled “Like a Dog,” Wee sits on a chair in a public square in the government administrative capital of Putrajaya with dancers wearing dog masks around him. Several of them mimic the “doggy-style” sex move. A green domed building in the background led some people to speculate it was filmed in front of a mosque, leading to criticism, but Wee later said it was the prime minister’s office.

The song includes the sounds of dog barks from various countries. In an apparent reference to government corruption, Wee sings that dogs in Malaysia go “mari mari, wang wang,” which in the Malay language means “come come, money money.”

Dogs are considered unclean by Muslims, who account for 60 percent of Malaysia’s 32 million people. Pixabay


Several ministers have called for Wee to be arrested. He has defended the video as a form of entertainment and said he has no intention of disrespecting any race or religion.

Earlier Thursday, Wee posted a picture on Facebook of himself at the federal police headquarters as he was wanted by police for questioning.

“I am not afraid because I believe Malaysia has justice,” he said.

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Previous controversies

In 2016, he was detained after enraged Malay Islamic activists lodged complaints that a video titled “Oh My God,” which was filmed in front of various places of worship and used the word “Allah,” which means God in the Malay language, was rude and disrespectful to Islam. He was not charged.

In one of his earliest videos, he mocked the national anthem and was criticized for racial slurs. He also produced a movie that was banned by the government in 2014 for portraying national agencies in a negative way.

Race and religion are sensitive issues in Malaysia, where the ethnic Malay majority has generally lived peacefully with large Chinese and Indian minorities since racial riots in 1969 left at least 200 people dead. (VOA)