A writ petition was filed by the petitioner as Pro Bono Publico before the divisional bench in the High Court of Madhya Pradesh. The petitioner thereafter, in a petition moved to the Supreme Court under Article 32 of the Constitution for the issue of a writ of mandamus or any other writ that the court deems and thereby commanding the Union of India or any appropriate ministry or department to take any supplementary steps required for instilling in public a proper sense of deference towards the National Anthem and other national symbols. The petitioner Shyam Narayan Chouksey filed the petition with the intent that the means by which the National Anthem is disrespected and what constitutes abuse and disrespect of it is still not clear to the public at large.
After the notice under Article 32 of the Indian Constitution was issued, an interim order was passed by the court with some directions were issued as follows:
“1. There shall be no commercial exploitation of the National Anthem……
Two applications were soon filed to seek clarification over the inequitable interim orders passed by the Supreme Court. The applications filed inquired about the strict application of the interim orders on the physically disabled people; to which the learned Attorney General of India stated that a person who is physically challenged or handicapped does not need to stand up if he/she is incapable to stand up but must show conduct which shows respect to the National Anthem. However certain questions were still not answered and the court finally took up the matter for detailed arguments in a 3-judge bench.
The issues raised before the court were:
The Judgment of this case was delivered by CJI Dipak Mishra in a 3-judge bench. The Hon’ble Supreme Court while reckoning upon Union of India v. Naveen Jindal AIR 2004 SC 1559, stated that the symbols like National Anthem, National Flag and National Song which represent the nation deserve a significant amount of respect as they serve as the vital to the Nation and promote a sense of unity and integrity among the public. The court while referring to the debate of Constituent Assembly in an excerpt of the speech of the President of the Constituent Assembly during a debate further held that the National Anthem, National Song, and National Flag cannot be disrespected in every possible way and every citizen is obliged to show respect towards them. The court, however, added that the cinema halls may not be a suitable place as people come here for unobstructed entertainment.
The supreme court in its concluding statement said that “the Citizens or persons are bound to show respect as required under executive orders relating to the National Anthem of India and the prevailing law, whenever it is played or sung on specified occasions”. However, the mandate of playing the National Anthem in the cinema halls is removed and is purely optional or directory. The court added while justifying the judgment that if it is not the case then the list of occasions cannot be exhaustively stated where the National Anthem is mandated to be played. The judgment was given so as to introduce an appropriate method by introducing a standard way to inculcate the habit of portraying this patriotism with the exception to all the people who are under any sort of disability since the object should be to maintain proper decorum when the National Anthem is played or sung.
However, the Supreme Court dismissed the petition by concluding that whenever the National Anthem is played or sung, people are bound to show respect towards it and “……the National Anthem is not only to be respected, but it is a respect as a salutation to the motherland” and ordered the union and authorities for the filing of the proper orders that it deems fit without taking into consideration the interim orders in this regard.