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India isn't alone when it comes to mandatory rulings about the national anthem

Catch Team | Updated on: 2 December 2016, 13:56 IST

For the "love for the motherland", the Supreme Court on 30 November directed cinema halls across the country to play the Indian national anthem before the screening of a film.

The court's order has surprised many who believe the move will further embolden the right wing groups that have been time and again been accused of been beating up people for not rising during the 52-second-long 'Jana Gana Mana'.

Also read - Stand up for the national anthem please: Going to a cinema to reinforce patriotism

Putting a ban on dramatising, abridging or making money from the national anthem, the apex court asked cinema halls to flash the national flag while playing it. Those present would have to stand up and even the doors of the movie theatres would be shut to avoid any movement.

Choosing civil liberties over hyper nationalism, the Supreme Court bench headed by Dipak Misra said, "Universalism is alright but still Bharat is the epitome of culture, knowledge... Gyaan and Vigyaan... people should feel that they live in a nation and show respect to the national anthem and the national flag."

Earlier this year, a paralytic man was roughed up for sitting while the national anthem played

However, questions are being raised over the implementation of such an order considering the weakened police force or whether the enforcement of the court's diktat would be left to the right wing groups that have been pursuing an aggressive brand of nationalism across the country. Earlier this year, a paralytic man was roughed up for sitting while the anthem played.

Many other countries across the world have some rules in place whenever the national anthem is played. Here are a few:

Thailand

Just like India, Thais too are required to stand for the national anthem before the screening of a film.

The national anthem is played twice daily at 8:00 am and 6:00 pm in Thailand in public places especially train stations, TV channels and it is mandatory for those in the vicinity to stop to pay respect. Any violation of the rule is a criminal offence and carries a fine and even imprisonment.

Earlier this year, a driver was fined 400 baht for not stopping when national anthem was being played.

Russia

The Russian government imposes fines on citizens for insulting the national anthem and the Supreme Court, earlier this year, paved way for a new law wherein the insult could become a criminal offence for which citizens could face jail up to a year.

According to the bill, "intentionally distorting the words or music of the anthem in public performance, social media, and on the internet" will be punishable. Presently, insulting the anthem is a civil offence which carries a fine of $45-$2,200.

The government swung into action after satirical verses appeared on a giant screen while the national anthem was being played at Sebastapol in Russia occupied Crimea.

Japan

Considered to be one of the most controversial, the Japanese national anthem has been facing criticism from teachers across the country who have raised objections to its connection with country's former military regime.

Since 1999, teachers have refused to stand during the national anthem and had to face the ire of the government. In 2006, was threatened with imprisonment and fined 200,000 yen for urging students to remain seated during the national anthem being played at the graduation ceremony. Since 23 October 2003, 410 teachers and school workers have been punished for defying the government order of standing and singing the anthem.

Citing increasing instances of defiance, Japan's Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that it was constitutional for teachers to stand and sing the anthem. However, the court asked the government that the punishments shouldn't be excessive.

United States

Earlier this year, National Football League player Colin Kaepernick sat down during the playing of American national anthem as a protest against the violent acts against blacks in the US. His defiance created uproar with many demanding an apology from the sport star. However, NFL said in a statement that it encourages players to stand, but they are not required to stand.

Disobeying to stand during the anthem is not a criminal offence in the US. The National Anthem statute of the country mentions that military personnel are required to stand while "all other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, and men not in uniform, if applicable, should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart."

Mexico

When it comes to implementation of national anthem rules, Mexico takes utmost care that the laws are being followed. The Law of the Coat of Arms, Flag, and National Anthem makes it necessary for schools and universities to sing the national anthem on Monday mornings. In fact, teachers check whether students are singing the anthem.

In fact, in 2004, a woman was fined $40 for fumbling phrases of the national anthem while singing during a football game.

Edited by Aleesha Matharu

More in Catch - The very real dangers of sitting during the national anthem in Mumbai

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First published: 2 December 2016, 13:56 IST
 
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