Am I legally required to stand during the Indian national anthem?

polity : Am-I-legally-required-to-stand-during-the-Indian-national-anthem-2

Answer by Jai Parimi:

May be because, we have IPC Sec. 124A.

Disclaimer: Please take this with a pinch of salt as I am not a lawyer.

Please understand that my stand on this is neutral. I am neither defending nor protesting standing for national anthem. But, there are few really important things you should know here.

For convenience, I divided this answer into 3 parts to handle it easily.

  1. Why am I talking about IPC 124A. and omitting Honor Act?
  2. What does the law say?
  3. What is the reason to file the charges on accused?

1. Why am I talking about IPC Sec. 124A?

This is the section people are accused to violate.

  • After looking at the links provided in the answer, I went to google to see under which section are the accused booked under.
  • Surprisingly, no one(I saw only 2) is booked under a section which related to insult to anthem.
  • They are all booked under IPC Section 124A (CG Act) for sedition.
  • Sedition: conduct or speech inciting people to rebel against the authority of a state or monarch.
  • Sample links:

Now that I established the reason for discussing this IPC Section 124A (CG Act), I will proceed to explain the reasoning of the person forcing the charges on the accused.

2. What does the IPC Section 124A (CG Act) say?

It says it is offence to attempt to excite disaffection.

As I understand,

  • People who are not standing at attention are not subject to legal action.

Read the next sentence in bold alone once. (excerpt from section 124A)

  • People who by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise, brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection* towards Government are subject to legal action.

* The expression โ€œdisaffectionโ€ includes disloyalty and all feelings of enmity.

Exact wording of the law: Indian Penal Code (IPC) 1860

Yes sir, 1860, it is that archaic indeed. ๐Ÿ™‚

3. What is the reason to file the charges on accused?

Media sensationalism and sidelining the offence.

  • In the case of Kerala student shown above(in my answer),
  • As reported by newspapers,
    • He posted on FB against India
    • He sat in the national anthem 'hooting' aka 'whistling'
    • But, their headline was 'Student arrested and charged for life imprisonment for sitting at national anthem'.
    • Sensationalism of news. Dog bites man. No news. Make Man bite dog and write news. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • In the case of Bihar couple who sat during anthem,
  • As reported by newspapers,
    • Court said 'there is no substantial evidence to prove that these people were disturbing the ceremony or caused sedition'. A photo of them sitting while all others were standing for anthem was not taken as evidence.
    • But, their headline was 'Complaint against Bihari for insulting National Anthem' ๐Ÿ™‚
    • I intentionally downplayed Lalu name so you will not be thinking 'Lalu ke liye hogaya' (It happens for Lalu 'n' Aloo)
    • Sensationalism of news. Dog bites man. No news. Make Man bite dog and write news. ๐Ÿ™‚

Moral of the story:

When in public, mind your mind, body and language.

  • Beware what you write in public & beware how you act in public till this law is changed. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • I leave it at this point to your self to ponder and decide whether you should stand, sit or sleep while national anthem is being played.

On a completely irrelevant context, (just to nitpick)

  • BTW, I searched the meaning of stand at attention as the link to ministry of home affairs circular asks us to behave.
  • The position of standing at attention is a military posture which involves the following general postures: Standing upright with an assertive and correct posture: famously "chin up, chest out, shoulders back, stomach in". <– How many are doing this?
  • If they are booking a person based on the circular, how many in the country should be booked? ๐Ÿ˜› So, The assumption that there is no law on how to behave during national anthem is spot on.

Thanks Prasidh Naik. This is by far the longest, toughest and most satisfactory question on quora for me boss. ๐Ÿ™‚

Am I legally required to stand during the Indian national anthem?


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