National Anthem No Longer Compulsory in Indian Cinemas

India’s Supreme Court has ruled that the playing of the national anthem is not compulsory before the beginning of every film screening in movie theaters.

The decision reverses a 2016 court decision that had sought to unify practice nationwide. But the earlier ruling sparked controversy and occasional violent outbreaks between cinemagoers who considered others not to be standing up or showing due respect. These included the beating of a disabled man in a wheelchair.

The judges ruled that playing the anthem is optional, and at the choice of the cinema operator. They also said that if the anthem is played, citizens are required to show respect.

The 2016 ruling was challenged by a Kerala cinema club, which argued that compulsory playing was an infringement of fundamental rights. The challenge was surprisingly also backed by the national government, which has promoted other nationalist and populist legislation.

The saga is unlikely to end with Tuesday’s ruling. The court also asked government to set up a commission to make further recommendations, including whether the anthem is necessary at all.

More Film

  • (L to R) Young Tanya (JESSICA

    'Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again' Reviews: What the Critics Are Saying

    India’s Supreme Court has ruled that the playing of the national anthem is not compulsory before the beginning of every film screening in movie theaters. The decision reverses a 2016 court decision that had sought to unify practice nationwide. But the earlier ruling sparked controversy and occasional violent outbreaks between cinemagoers who considered others not […]

  • Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

    'Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants' Stage Musical in the Works

    India’s Supreme Court has ruled that the playing of the national anthem is not compulsory before the beginning of every film screening in movie theaters. The decision reverses a 2016 court decision that had sought to unify practice nationwide. But the earlier ruling sparked controversy and occasional violent outbreaks between cinemagoers who considered others not […]

  • Sundance Film Festival Placeholder

    Sundance Festival's Economic Impact Jumps Up 26% From 2017, Study Says

    India’s Supreme Court has ruled that the playing of the national anthem is not compulsory before the beginning of every film screening in movie theaters. The decision reverses a 2016 court decision that had sought to unify practice nationwide. But the earlier ruling sparked controversy and occasional violent outbreaks between cinemagoers who considered others not […]

  • Aubrey Plaza'Ingrid Goes West' film premiere,

    LA Film Festival Adds Inclusion Initiatives

    India’s Supreme Court has ruled that the playing of the national anthem is not compulsory before the beginning of every film screening in movie theaters. The decision reverses a 2016 court decision that had sought to unify practice nationwide. But the earlier ruling sparked controversy and occasional violent outbreaks between cinemagoers who considered others not […]

  • Robin Hood trailer

    Jamie Foxx Teaches Taron Egerton to Steal From the Rich in 'Robin Hood' Trailer

    India’s Supreme Court has ruled that the playing of the national anthem is not compulsory before the beginning of every film screening in movie theaters. The decision reverses a 2016 court decision that had sought to unify practice nationwide. But the earlier ruling sparked controversy and occasional violent outbreaks between cinemagoers who considered others not […]

  • 'Dark Knight' Changed Movies, and the

    Christopher Nolan's 'Dark Knight' Changed Movies, and the Oscars, Forever

    India’s Supreme Court has ruled that the playing of the national anthem is not compulsory before the beginning of every film screening in movie theaters. The decision reverses a 2016 court decision that had sought to unify practice nationwide. But the earlier ruling sparked controversy and occasional violent outbreaks between cinemagoers who considered others not […]

  • Boy Erased Trailer

    Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe Send Lucas Hedges to Gay Conversion Therapy in 'Boy Erased'

    India’s Supreme Court has ruled that the playing of the national anthem is not compulsory before the beginning of every film screening in movie theaters. The decision reverses a 2016 court decision that had sought to unify practice nationwide. But the earlier ruling sparked controversy and occasional violent outbreaks between cinemagoers who considered others not […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content