This Case analysis has been done by Aman Tiwari (Law (4th Year), Delhi Metropolitan Education, Noida)
Table of Contents
“Shyam Narayan Chouksey versus Union of India & Others” is a significant Indian lawsuit that concerns instilling a suitable sense of respect for the National Anthem. It explains what should and should not be done when playing or singing the National Anthem. The petitioner asked the court to issue a writ of mandamus under Article 32 of the Indian constitution to-
- Define and comprehend the terms “abuse” and “disrespect” for the National Anthem.
- The restriction against the use of the National Anthem for commercial purposes or to gain a financial benefit in any way.
The petitioner posed these questions in order to better comprehend the difference between respect and disdain for the national anthem. The court considered the issue and gave recommendations for giving proper respect to our country’s national anthem and flag.
FACTS OF THE CASE
Mr Shyam Narayan Chouksey, a social activist from Madhya Pradesh, went to attend a movie in a cinema theatre in 2003, and when the national anthem was played in the middle of the film, he stood up as a display of respect and as a fundamental responsibility. Other people in the cinema theatre chastised him for his actions. He was profoundly disturbed to witness people’s disregard for the fundamental responsibility of showing proper respect to our national anthem. Afterwards, a petition was filed against the producer Karan Johar filed by Chouksey in MP High Court in which the producer was charged with insulting/ disrespecting the National Anthem in his newly launched movie i.e., Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Ghamby showing the national anthem in poor light as well as for “commercial use of National Anthem” in his film.
The High Court ruled in his favour, and the picture was barred from being screened across India, but the prohibition was ultimately lifted. Chouksey then petitioned “The Supreme Court under Article 32 of the Constitution”, claiming that the public’s understanding of what constitutes respect and disdain for the national anthem, flag, or other national symbols is still unclear.
- “The case Shyam Narayan Chouksey versus Union of India & Others concerns what constitutes respect and disdain for the National Anthem, as well as what should be done when it is being sung or played.
- Are the arguments given by India’s erudite Attorney General, Mr MukulRohtagi, likewise applicable for handicapped Indians? Because of the submissions made by the learned Attorney General of India, handicapped individuals experienced challenges.
- The national anthem and flag serve as symbols of a secular nation.”
“Under Article 32 of the Indian Constitution”, the petitioner asked the court to issue a writ of mandamus to define and comprehend what constitutes abuse and disrespect of the National Anthem.
Two petitions were filed shortly after the Attorney General of India issued the interim ruling. “Which subject concerns how physically challenged persons can show respect for the National Anthem in movie theatres?” There has to be an exception to this rule. The learned Attorney General of India responded by submitting recommendations for physically disabled or challenged people, which the Central Government must approve.
On February 14, 2017, during the next hearing, petitions were made relative to the problems that handicapped people experience in the future. Mr Sidharth Luthra, a skilled lawyer, was assigned by the court to investigate the case and identify specific issues that the court-approved. The learned counsel stated that when the National Anthem is performed before the opening of a feature film, no one is required to stand up. Mr Subhash Chandran, the skilled counsel, requested permission to file an application on behalf of the National Platform for Disabled Rights. Mr Abhinav Shrivastava, a skilled attorney for the petitioner, made the following arguments:
- “Section 3 of the Prevention of Insults to National Honor Act of 1971” only addresses the singing and playing of the national anthem, but not the manner in which respect should be given. As a result, the court must specify the measures.
- According to “Article 51 A of the Constitution”, every Indian citizen must respect the constitution as well as the national flag and anthem.
- The court’s order should be reconsidered, and revisions should be made.
“The court stated that the Union of India’s constituted committee must submit its suggestions. The decree, which was enacted on November 30, 2016, will be changed, and the playing of the National Anthem at movie theatres will no longer be necessary, but rather voluntary. The writ petition was dismissed by the court.”
The symbols that represent a nation, such as the national anthem, flag, and constitution, are the pride of any nation. Under Article 51(A), every citizen of India is required to respect national symbols, which encourages a sense of oneness and nationalism among the general population. This case concerns the National Anthem, what constitutes disrespect of the National Anthem, and the subject of standing during the playing of the National Anthem in movie theatres.
“Learned CJI Dipak Mishra rendered the judgment in this matter on the 9th of January 2018. The Hon’ble Supreme Court, citing Union of India v. Naveen Jindal, declared that the National Anthem and Flag cannot be insulted and that every citizen is required to show respect, but that movie halls may not be the appropriate venue because people come here for unrestricted amusement. The court went on to say that symbols of the nation deserve a lot of respect since they serve as the nation’s elan vital and generate a sense of unity and integrity among the population. The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India concluded its verdict by declaring that national anthems are not required to be played and are left to the choice of the individuals involved. People are obligated to show respect whenever the National Anthem is performed or sung, as mandated by presidential directives, and so the petition is dismissed.”
- Any individual should not gain any financial benefit and there should be no commercial exploitation for the same. The national anthem should not be exploitedin order to gain any benefit directly or indirectly from it.
- It should not be dramatized, and it should not be performed anywhere as an act or otherwise. This is because that every individual must respect and honour the national anthem when it is performed. It is very heart-breaking to see our national anthem being performed dramatically.
- The national anthemwholly or in parts should not be reproduced or displayed in any way or at any locations which will be disrespectful for it and similar to contempt. As the notion connected with the national anthem has its origin in integrity, identity and patriotism when it is performed.
- Before the movie is played it is mandatory to play national anthem and all the people in the theatre have to rise up to shoe respect to the national anthem.
- Before the movie start in the theatre the national anthem is played. The doors of the theatre should be closed so that no person can disturb the national anthem as it would be disrespectful. The doors can be again opened once the national anthem is completed.
- Whoever obstructs the singing of the Indian National Anthem or produces a ruckus in any gathering that is doing so is punishable by imprisonment for a term up to 3 years, a fine, or both.
- During the time of movie in the theatre the national anthem will be broadcasted on the screen of the theatre.
- The national anthem should not be performed or exhibited if it has been shortened by one person for whatever reason.
The Apex Court concluded its decision by stating that national anthems are not needed to be played and are left to the discretion of those concerned. The individuals are obliged to obey the National Anthem whenever itis sung orbroadcasted, as it is compulsory by the presidential directions;hence, the aforementioned petition hereby stands dismissed.
On the 9th of January 2018, the court decided a significant issue encompassing a wide range of feelings, emotions, and patriotism. The case is significant since it included the topic of the National Anthem, and it required extensive interpretations because the National Anthem is a national emblem that represents the nation.
India exemplifies the concept of “Unity in Diversity.” We are diverse in terms of religion, language, clothes, and birthplace, but one thing unites us all: we are all offspring of Mother India, or Bharat Mata. Showing respect for the Indian Constitution, national song, and national flag can help to establish and preserve a sense of oneness or patriotism. To demonstrate this attitude, we must adhere to some basic democratic conduct and behaviour rules, one of which is standing respectfully while the national anthem is played or sung.
Our Constitution bestows a broad variety of essential rights on us. But we must never forget that every right comes with a responsibility, and it is incumbent on every one of us to exercise it responsibly. It is vital to make all individuals aware of their responsibilities in order to enforce them. This should be accomplished through a systematic and widespread education program. This can be accomplished through the use of mass media or by incorporating it into educational syllabi and curriculum.
It takes only 52 seconds to play or sing the national anthem. If these fifty-two seconds unite us all and take us back on the journey of independence, enlightening the sacrifices of our soldiers, we have a duty to respect and obey itand alsothe order provided by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in “Shyam Narayan Chouksey v. Union of India.”
“Shyam Narayan Chouksey vs Union of India & Others” – Available at: https://www.intolegalworld.com/article?title=shyam-narayan-chouksey-vs-union-of-india-others (Last visited on- 07-04-2022)
Shyam Narayan Chouksey vs. Union of India &Ors. – Available at: https://www.lawordo.com/shyam-narayan-chouksey-vs-union-of-india/ (Last visited on- 07-04-2022)