[Polity] National Anthem in Cinema Halls, Bijoe Case- right to be silent, Santhara Death vs Child Rights, Jumme Ki Raat Chhutti nahi

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IAS Mock Interviews
  1. National Anthem in Cinema Halls
    1. Bijoe Emmanuel vs State of Kerala (1986): right to be silent
    2. Shashi Tharoor case: freedom to put hand on heart? (2008)
    3. Kaepernick Incident USA: freedom to kneel? (2016)
    4. Shyam Narayan Chouksey v. Union of India (2016)
    5. Anthem Order and Counter Views
  2. “Santhara”: Religious rights vs Child rights
  3. Friday holiday in Assam Madrassa

National Anthem in Cinema Halls

  • GSM2-2016, UPSC asked about Coelho case (2007) with respect to Hardik Patel / Jat / Maratha agitation for reservation.
  • Hence we’ve to prepare such SC judgements in news. This time- on national anthem 1) Bijoe Emmanuel 2) Shayam Narayan Chouksey.

But first…

National Anthem “Theory”

  • National Song: Benkimchandra Chatterji’s “Vande Mataram” (1896)
  • National Anthem: Rabindranath Tagore’s “Jana Gana Mana” (originally written in Bengali, 1911)
  • 52 seconds: full version of the Anthem (five stanzas).
  • 20 seconds:  Short version of the Anthem with only first and last stanzas.
  • When receiving foreign dignitaries in India– their national anthem played first, then Indian national anthem played.
1911
  • Jana Gana Mana first sung in INC’s Calcutta session (27 Dec).
  • critiques allege the words “Bharat Bhagya vidhata” and “Adhinayaka” mark the coronation of King George V.
1950Constitutional assembly adopted the Hindi version of Jana Gana Mana as “National Anthem” (24 Jan).
1962Practice to play National Anthem in cinema halls at the end of the movie, to instill patriotism in the height of India-China war.
1971Prevention of insult to national honor act. It prohibits desecration of country’s national symbols, including the Flag, Constitution, map and Anthem, with jailtime upto 1 year.
1976 42nd Amendment inserted fundamental duty Art. 51A: every citizen shall  respect Constitution, flag and anthem. (Swaran Singh Committee)
1986Bijoe Emmanuel case: Remaining silent during anthem is also permitted under “Freedom of conscience”.
2002Flag Code of India to regulate the size, display and decorum of hoisting national flag in public.
2003This practice of cinema-anthem faded eventually.
2016Shyam Narayan Chouksey case: SC orders playing of national anthem before start of the movie in cinema halls.

Bijoe Emmanuel vs State of Kerala (1986): right to be silent

  • Jehovah’s Witness is a sect whose belief are distinct from mainstream Christianity.
  • They believe saluting a flag or singing an anthem, ascribes salvation not to God but to State / its leaders. Hence flag salute and anthem singing forbidden in their sect- be it Indian, American or British.
  • In Kerala, three students from this sect, were suspended for refusing to sing the national anthem.
  • Supreme court overturned the suspension because right to freedom of speech and expression included the right to remain silent [Articles 19(1)(a)] and Freedom of Conscience [Article 25].
  • Since students stood up and did not disturb others from singing anthem, hence did not violate fundamental duty of respecting flag and anthem [Article 51-A(a)]

Shashi Tharoor case: freedom to put hand on heart? (2008)

  • In a public function, the then minister Shashi Tharoor asked audient to put right hand on left side of chest during the anthem. (because Americans do like that during their anthem).
  • Shashi Tharoor was booked under “Prevention of Insult to National Honour Act, 1977” for desecrating and interrupting the national anthem.
  • 2013: court discharged him saying he did not ‘desecrate’ the anthem nor he forbid anyone from singing it.

National Anthem

Kaepernick Incident USA: freedom to kneel? (2016)

  • Indian Fundamental rights are borrowed from USA Constitution.
  • 2016: NFL player Colin Kaepernick did not stand up, but knelt during USA anthem to protest against the police atrocities on the black people.
  • President Obama defended Colin’s action saying it was his Constitutional right to raise legitimate issues.
  • Earlier US Supreme court declared even flag burning to be part of the constitutionally protected free speech.

Shyam Narayan Chouksey v. Union of India (2016)

  • Shyam Chouksey had gone to watch Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham(K3G) but dejected to see audience did not stand up during a scene in the movie where SRK sings national anthem.
  • He approached Madhya Pradesh HC. The then justice Dipak Misra order film to delete the national anthem scene.
  • But SC overturned HC order.
  • Years later, same Justice Dipak Misra elevated to Supreme Court.
  • Same petitioner Shayam Choksey again files PIL (under Art.32) to frame guidelines on the playing of the National Anthem. Resulting into this order to play anthem before movie.

Anthem Order and Counter Views

Order of supreme courtCounter views
Compulsory for cinema owner to play anthem before movie.
  • Goes against the spirit of Supreme court’s Bijoe judgment (1986).
  • Home ministry guideline also says that “If anthem played during movie or documentary, it is not expected of the audience to stand, because it’ll interrupt the exhibition of the film and would create disorder and confusion rather than add to the dignity of the Anthem.”
  • (Counter of counter view): here the anthem played *BEFORE* the movie starts. So no disruption.
compulsory for audience to stand.
  • SC did not prescribe who’re exempted? Non-citizen, pregnant women, PH, elderly etc.
  • Who will supervise? Who will punish? What will be the punishment? order is per incuriam (an order that is passed in disregard of a binding authority)
  • Patriotic “vigilantes” may hackle people for not standing up.
  • Many people who stand up may well be scoundrels and devoid of any sentiment of patriotism. Because “patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel”- Samuel Johnson.
Cinema hall’s entry and exit doors be closed while playing the National AnthemWhat if fire breaks out? SC itself ordered in Uphaar tragedy that cinema doors should never be closed.
cinema screen must show national flag image when National Anthem is being played.specification not given- whether static image or animated clip of flag? What if there is text/advertisement/ website watermark below the flag wallpaper?
Full version of anthem must be played (52 seconds)Even Home ministry guidelines allow for shorter version of anthems (20 seconds) in numerous occasions.
No person can have commercial benefit for singing anthemBollywood / local singer can’t get royalty for singing anthem? Is it not violating prohibition against forced labour (under Article 23)?
No film, drama or show can have the National Anthem as part of the show.
  • Artistic freedom curtailed.
  • What If script of the movie demands a scene where  anthem is to be played to dramatize the scene? e.g. Sunny Deol beating Pak. Terrorist to pulp or Ek-din-ka-CM Anil Kapoor teaching lesson to a corrupt politician?
  • Such restriction is not provided under Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971. Cinematograph Act, 1952 or Central Board for Film Certification (Censor board).
National anthem or its part can’t be printed on any object.Good step. In past, foreign companies have denigrated images of Gandhi and Indian flag by printing them on footwear.
This is meant to instill patriotism.
  • The author of national anthem Rabindranath Tagore himself was highly critical of nationalism especially in its overt forms. “I would prefer humanism over patriotism”, said Tagore.
Fundamental duty of every citizen to respect flag and anthem.
  • There are so many fundamental duties, will they give directions to enforce them?
  • How about anthem before IPL matches and TV-serials?
  • Is it the court’s function to go into such issues? This is Judicial activism going haywire. (Soli Sorabjee)
  • Precious time of court is being used in such peripheral matters such as cinema halls and Sardara-ji jokes.
  • While the “intent” of the court may be good, but the method is not good.

“Santhara”: Religious rights vs Child rights

  • During the “Chaumasa” period, Jains undergo fasting (“Santhara”) to attend penance.
  • They’re glorified, honored and lauded by the community and showered with gifts.
  • If person dies, procession (“Shobha Yatra”) organized in grand fashion.
  • 13 years Jain girl dies after 68 days fast In Hyderabad- 2016, Oct.
  • Police arrests parents on NGO complaint of child abuse and negligence.
Should minor children be allowed to undergo “Santhara”?
Pro- this should be allowedAgainst
  • Yes. Fundamental right to religious freedom is guaranteed by constitution.
  • But here,  girl’s right to life is violated, by the negligence of her parents and encouragement by the religious leaders.
  • Their “Guru” had advised parents that their jewelry business will “grow”,  if daughter undergoes fasting for 68 days. So, in a way its abetment of suicide (IPC 306)
  • Fundamental right to religion- is subject to public health and morality.
  • This girl attended school for 41 out of 68 days of her fasting.
  • She died not during the fasting but 24 hrs after completion of fasting (“Paarnaa”).
  • Minor children can’t focus on studies with such long fasting.
  • This girl was allowed to drink water only once in the evening.
  • “Santhara” is meant for cleansing of body and mind.
  • Similar traditions exist in Hinduism (Upwas in Shravan / Navratri) and Islam (Ramzan) as well.
  • This type of long fast is usually meant for elderly people who want renunciation / death  (“Sallekhana / Samathi Maran”) because they’ve lived their life and body is no longer functioning or suffering from incurable disease.
  • But, now “Santhara” fasting has become a competition among some parents. Even political leaders attend and cherish it to gain political mileage.

Friday holiday in Assam Madrassa

  • Assam Education dept. has discontinued the weekly Friday holiday in Government run Madrassas.
  • They’ve to follow the work-week like any ordinary school.
  • On Friday, they’ll get 1 hr break to offer Jumma-Namaz, then have to resume work / teaching.
  • Headmaster will be suspended if he doesn’t enforce this rule.
Q. should government-funded madrassa be given Friday holiday?
Pro-yes Friday holiday required.Anti: Friday holiday not required.
Yes. Fundamental right to religious freedom, practice and propagation is guaranteed under Art. 25
  • Friday: official weekly government holiday in Pakistan and Bangladesh
  • Sunday: official weekly government holiday in India, US, Europe.
    So, There cannot be two holidays a week.
  • Madrassa students receive less education per week than ordinary schools.
  • Madrassa teachers getting same salary for doing less weekly work than ordinary government School teachers.
Communally divisive agenda will hurt the secular fabric of India.
  • There is no law, circulate or GR that recognizes Friday as government holiday in India.
“Saffronization” of education must be stopped. This is an example of “intolerance” against minorities by Assam’s BJP government.
  • Privately funded minority institutions can do it (Art.28)
  • But, Government funded institutes have to abide by government rules.
  • Besides, the Muslim employees, students given break-time to offer namaz in 1-1.5 hrs,  then they can resume work / studies.

Visit Mrunal.org/polity for more study material on Indian polity and governance for UPSC prelims and Mains General Studies Paper-2.

Mrunal recommends

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  4. Maths: Quantam CAT Sarvesh Kumar
  5. Objective General English SP Bakshi
  6. Word Power made Easy -Norman Lowe
  7. Topic wise Solved Paperset by Disha

48 Comments on “[Polity] National Anthem in Cinema Halls, Bijoe Case- right to be silent, Santhara Death vs Child Rights, Jumme Ki Raat Chhutti nahi”

  1. I feel like touching your feet sir.
    Truly selfless effort….!!!!

    Thanks a ton :-)

  2. thanks a lot sir…… :-)

  3. Good morning and thank you

  4. In all the above topics, I am finding myself inclined to the anti-points…

  5. thank you sir for important information……..

  6. Sir ,on national flag judgement,later sc clarified that disabled as defined by disability act will be exempted from standing.

  7. Very nice probably chance to come in 2017 mains paper 2……

  8. sir.. one article when india year book 2017 release.. how to read ?? and what to read because year book is very bulky.it is not possible to complete..

  9. Hats off mrunal sir….
    never thought that the death of 13yr old jain girl can be linked to santhara and can be formed such a beautiful question…

  10. Sir SPIPA se thoda time nikal ke ham logo k liye bhi daily nahi to periodically bhi kuch imp article post kar diya kariye…
    THANKS.

  11. yeah ……Sure Zahoor ..!

  12. sir pls hindi main bhi bataya karo

  13. thank you sir it helps a lot ..\,,/ Mrunal sir one thing please … rajtanil ma’am geography ppts and pratik sir’s lectures and ppts of history .. is this all enough and sufficient for 2017 prelims .. or a new series of lectures will come . is it ? and please sir not like last time ..please finish ppts of economics atleast 15 to 20 days before D day. no cut to cut system please … little request .. thank you Mrunal sir .

  14. thank U sir…..we need more of ur articles

  15. sirji sallekhana and fasting are two different issue…

  16. Which brand INDIA YEAR BOOK is good. there are so many available in market…plz advice and about buy it.

  17. By d way SRK doesn’t sing d song in K3G ,but his reel son !

  18. Thanks a lot for your sincere effort to make aspirants life easy

  19. Anyone knows about the notification of APFC exams f 2017???

  20. Thanks Guru ji… indebted!

  21. Outstanding notes sir. Really salutes

    Thanks

  22. sir make complete series on Indian polity like pratik sir history

  23. thank u sir

  24. thanks guru ji.

  25. This is much better than videos. Thank you sir.

  26. THANKYOU VERY MUCH SIR

  27. Being new to this blog..I would say thumbs up to its precise details. Great work sir

  28. It’s really interesting and very deep knowledge for me…. Very much thank you sir. Please be continue

  29. Thank you sir for the effort

  30. Sir, weekly ek article daal do!

  31. Thanks a lot Sir. Your articles are unmatched.

  32. thanku so much sir for ur support. may god bless you

  33. nicely explained

  34. can anyone please tell me which book to use for economy for hindi medium..thanx in advance

  35. Hello sir i want ncert mock questions in hindi language

  36. Hello sir i want ncert mock questions in hindi language

  37. Thank you so much sir for this efforts,
    From Canada

  38. Thnks f such valuable info’s

  39. What is meant by GR mentioned in the question related to holiday in madrassa’s ?

  40. Mrunal, now SC has admitted that there is no concept of National Song. All that is mentioned in the Constitution is National Anthem and National Flag.
    Kudos for the efforts.

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