SC’s National Anthem order: The seven commandments of ‘constitutional patriotism’

Written by | December 1, 2016 | 0

In an interim order delivered by the Supreme Court on 30 November in the Shyam Narayan Chouksey v. Union of India (2016), the final word seems to have been spoken on how the National Anthem is to be bestowed the respect and reverence it is worthy of. Authored by Justice Dipak Misra, this order ensures that while the National Anthem might stand adequately “respected”, the expectation of reasoned judicial orders will quiver in a corner.

By no means is this the first time courts have been faced with emphatic assertions of respect for the anthem. In 2014, the Calcutta High Court heard a certain Kamal Dey about how certain schools/institutions were not complying with the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971 (1971 Act) by not encouraging and starting their days’ work with community singing of the National Anthem.

The High Court responded to this plea by directing the Central government and state government to ensure that educational institutions strictly follow the orders pertaining to the National Anthem.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), in turn, compiled several instructions issued on the use and playing of the National Anthem into one consolidated orders’ document, which was issued to all government machineries on 5 January, 2015. In March, 2016, the MHA issued an advisory for strict compliance with these orders.

The orders as well as the advisory pertinently leave it to the “good sense” of the people not to indulge in indiscriminate singing or playing of the anthem.



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