Saturday, 21 April, 2018

Playing National Anthem not mandatory in Cinema halls

Representational image. People standing for national anthem in a cinema hall Representational image. People standing for national anthem in a cinema hall
Marlene Weaver | 09 January, 2018, 11:02

Modifying its November 2016 order, which made playing of National Anthem in cinema halls mandatory, the Supreme Court said an inter-ministerial committee set up by Centre shall take final call on playing of national anthem in cinemas.

On October 23 past year, the case in which the SC had ruled that cine-goers must stand up for the national anthem to show their "respect for the motherland" saw a major twist with serious differences emerging between Chief Justice Dipak Misra who authored the order and the judge who shared the bench with him.

The apex court accepted the Centre's submission that an inter-ministerial committee should decide if the National Anthem should be played at all.

Accepting attorney general K K Venugopal's suggestion, the bench said playing of national Anthem in cinema halls will henceforth be optional.

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The government has now told the Court that pending the recommendations by the Committee, this direction could be suspended. He had said a debate must also start on why mandatory singing of the national anthem be not included in school curriculum. "The guidelines would require extensive consultations and would require six months' time". The Centre in its four-page affidavit had said upon consideration of the recommendation made by the panel, the government may bring out the requisite notification or circular or rules in this regard, if required.

The initial order, issued in November 2016, said all those present in theatres must "stand up in respect" till the anthem ended. "That apart, it would instill the feeling within one of a sense committed patriotism and nationalism", it had then said.

The bench which was hearing the issue was headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.

In October, the apex court put the onus on the Centre for amending the laws to regulate playing of national anthem in cinema halls.

The decision, widely condemned by civil society members, had led to physical torture of several disable people, who simply could not stand up for the national anthem. Justice DY Chandrachud, criticising the previous mandate, questioned why people should have to "wear patriotism on their sleeves".

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