SC: Disabled Persons may choose not to stand when National Anthem is being played

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The Supreme Court had made it mandatory for the National Anthem to be played in the cinema halls before each film show starts. The Court, by the order of 30 November 2016, had issued guidelines in the interlocutory order as to how this rule ought to be followed. Every citizen should mandatorily stand for the National Anthem. The theater doors must remain closed during that time to prevent any person from walking in or exiting during that time. No short form of the National Anthem must be played. Thus, many such guidelines were issued by the Supreme Court to prevent any sort of misconduct towards the Anthem in two interim orders which were issued on 30 November 2016 and 9 December 2016.

Facts :

Nevertheless, on behalf of the National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled, an application was filed before this court to exempt the disabled from the purview of the order on 30 November 2016 and 9 December 2016. It is quite inhuman to expect the disabled persons to abide by the guidelines issued especially when it requires to stand up during the time of the Anthem.

Issue :

Should the interim order of the Supreme Court regarding the National Anthem be binding on the persons with disabilities?

Judgment :

The Supreme Court realizing the necessity to attend to their specific situation ordered an exemption to the disabled persons in the interim order issued on 18 April, 2017

The Supreme Court realized the necessity to attend to their specific situation ordered an exemption to the disabled persons in the interim order issued on 18 April 2017.

The Supreme Court charted out the following infirmities to be treated as a disability for the requirement:-

  1. Wheel Chair Users – can be cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s, Multiple sclerosis, Muscular dystrophy or other conditions
  2. Autism
  3. Cerebral Palsy
  4. Intellectual Disabilities
  5. Mental Illness
  6. Deaf-Blind
  7. Multiple Disabilities
  8. Parkinsons, Multiple Sclerosis
  9. Leprosy Cured
  10. Muscular Dystrophy

Any person who is affected by the aforementioned disabilities need not be restrained by the hard-and-fast reading of the rules issued on 30 November 2016. They are exempted from the orders of the court in relation to the National Anthem in cinema halls which were issued on 30 November 2016 and 9 December 2016.

Learning Outcome:

The disabled persons are not liable to stand up while the National Anthem is being played in the theaters.

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