• Introduction

Every person has duty towards his/her country and those duties are given under Article 51A of Part IVA of Indian Constitution. There are 11 duties under Art.51A and like the directive principles, the fundamental duties are also non-justiciable. The constitution does not provide for direct enforcement by the courts. Moreover, there is no legal sanction against their violation and hence can’t be taken to the court of law. However, the parliament is free to enforce them by suitable legislation. We took this from USSR Constitution. Fundamental duties are moral obligations to promote a spirit of patriotism and to uphold the unity of India. This part was added into Indian Constitution after 42nd CAA, 1976. Swaran Singh Committee recommended 8 duties but after amendment two more duties were added. After 86th CAA, 2002, one more duty was added to this part. This part does not extend to foreigners but only applicable on the citizens. There is no legal action against violation of fundamental duty.  The first and foremost duty is to abide by the Indian Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the national flag and national anthem. It is duty of every citizen to stand and sing national anthem for its respect. There is no punishment for disrespecting national flag and national anthem.


  • Cases related to National Anthem

It is duty of every citizen to abide by its constitution and to pay respect to our national anthem and national flag. In Bijoe Emmanuel & Ors vs State of Kerala & Ors (1987 AIR 748, 1986 SCR (3) 518), in this case three students were Jehovah’s community and when national anthem was sung in the morning assembly, all three students stood respectfully and quietly. The students were told to sing song but they refused because they belonged to Jehovah community and as per rules of this community they can’t praise any other community.

The Supreme Court held that these students are not guilty of disrespecting National Anthem as they all stood quietly for its respect and it is not compulsory to sing national anthem. The hon’ble court ruled that Article 19(a) and Article 25 provides freedom of speech and expression and right to freely profess, practice and propagate religion respectively so they can’t be forced to sing national anthem. Each person has fundamental right to their expression and it is their concern how they express their feelings but there are some restrictions on this right which is given under Article 19(2) and the right to freely profess, practice and propagate religion is subject to public order, morality and health and to the other provisions of Part III of Indian Constitution.

Not standing up for national anthem can be considered as disrespect but it does not constitute an offence under the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971. The court also quashed a FIR registered against a lecturer in Jammu province who was accused of not standing up for the national anthem at a college function in 2018 to celebrate the first anniversary of the Indian Army’s ‘surgical strike’ on militant camps in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.

A single bench of Justice Sanjeev Kumar held that not standing for the national anthem does not constitute an offence under the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act. The judge said that disturbing the assembly which is engaged in singing the national anthem or preventing from singing it and hence it will be considered as disrespect as per Section 3 of this act.

When Supreme Court made it mandatory for cinema halls to play national anthem before screening the films a number of cases came from all over the country and many people were thrown out of cinema halls for not standing and disrespecting it. In 2017 the court accepted that its order had been misused against those who did not stand while the national anthem was played before screening of movie. It is completely wrong to call people anti-national when they do not stand while national anthem is played.


  • Conclusion

People call each other anti-national when they do not sing national anthem. All have to stand for the respect of national anthem and it is duty of everyone to pay due respect towards its ideals and institutions, the national flag and national anthem. Those who can sing and stand for national anthem should stand and sing it as this shows our unity. It is not a crime if anyone does not sing it but they should at least stand for it. This duty is not applicable on the foreigners but it shows their ethics whether they pay respect to others ideals, national anthem or flag. Playing it in cinema halls is, per se, derogatory because most people go to halls for their entertainment not for fulfilling any duty. Hence people should give respect to those things which are of national importance.


Written by Priyanka Sharma

Third Year Law Student 

JECRC University, Jaipur 




  1. https://thewire.in/law/nationa-anthem-not-standing-not-offence-jammu-kashmir-high-court
  2. https://primelegal.in/2022/11/28/the-national-anthem-case-the-supreme-court-of-india/
  3. https://byjus.com/free-ias-prep/fundamental-duties/
  4. https://www.insightsonindia.com/polity/indian-constitution/significant-provisions/fundamental-duties/


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