In my opinion, the Apex Court’s ruling that the National Anthem should be played before all film screenings at cinema halls across the country could have been avoided. Ruling further, the Apex Court directed that while the anthem plays, everyone in attendance must stand up to show respect. Thinking behind the direction is that people nowadays do not know how to sing National Anthem and hence, people must be taught to do so.
Though direction from the Court appears intent on goading people towards embracing nationalism, it is not out of place to raise a gentle query as to whether the judiciary’s intervention is really necessitated in the instant case. The Constitution demarcates separation of powers unambiguously vis-à-vis legislation which is the primary task of the legislature as against interpreting laws which again is the primary domain of the judiciary, respectively. Democratic vibrancy sustains, thrives and excels on this separation of powers and hence, stepping into other’s territory is neither advisable nor welcome. No wonder, there are murmurs across the country of judicial overreach often usurping legislative authority precisely for these reason(s). Judicial overreach undercuts the very foundation of harmonious functionality of the other two wings of the Constitution viz,. Legislative and Executive.
Now let us deliberate whether such a ruling actually helps in generating nationalism as intended. Would such a move be adhered to with expected fervor or merely result in viewing as nothing but infantilizing over an issue which otherwise would be best left to individuals’ conscience? Would the measure be extended to all congregations viz,. Sporting events, varied gatherings, commercial activities, diverse mobilization modes including flight etc. before embarking / disembarking.
One need not be erudite to comprehend that if voluntary participation paves way for coercive indulgence, than rest assured, it would be construed as nothing but dictatorial initiative inviting resentment from people from all walks of life. Innumerable instances substantiates that any forceful measures invariably tend to have opposite of intended outcome most of the times. This being the case, saner approach as regards patriotism should be to evade deliberate thrusting upon people such measures in the first place. Disregarding such an approach might end up showcasing patriotism as mere tokenism completely bereft of nationalistic feelings. Respect for the National Anthem should be originating instantly and voluntarily. Forcefully pushing people will render the entire exercise to one that of mundane affair witnessing lifeless rendition nothing more.
People of the country greatly respects and expects the Apex Court to essay the role of indefatigable savior upholding the righteousness, adroitness, sense of fairness, quick and timely deliverance of justice, broader understanding of the aspirational society whilst adjudicating on diverse matters concerning the nation. Semblance of judicial watchfulness to ensure equilibrium of the nation’s unhindered march ahead thus rests on the admirable reputation of the Apex Court. Growing expectations from the Highest Court of the nation is to expend its invaluable resources in speedy delivery of justice on matters of urgency rather than on singing national anthem which could have been left aside.