National Anthem not mandatory in cinema halls, says Supreme Court

SC says playing of national anthem in theatres optional modifies 2016 order

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday modified its year-old order that made it mandatory for cinema halls to play the national anthem before screening the films, ANI reported.

Disposing of the petition by Shyam Narayan Chouksey, the court allowed him to take his case to the inter-ministerial committee.

The playing of the national anthem before the screening of movies should not be made compulsory for now, the government told the Supreme Court on Monday.

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The Court said that the panel will examine the issue at length and will come up with recommendations on playing the National Anthem.

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The stand is in sharp contrast to the support Centre had then shown to the top court's November 2016 order. It had also barred printing of the anthem or a part of it on any object and displaying it in such a manner at places which may be "disgraceful to its status and tantamount to disrespect". This Committee is expected to frame guidelines on the topic within six months from its constitution.

The Centre had said that the final action will be based on the recommendations of the committee. Till such time, the earlier order making National Anthem mandatory in cinema halls should be recalled. A person who stands up shows proper respect, it said.

To stand or not to stand: The debate around the National Anthem playing in theatres continues.

The court said the government should take a call on the issue, instead of "shooting from the court's shoulder".

Justice DY Chandrachud said that "one need not wear patriotism on his sleeve" and people went to the movie hall for undiluted entertainment. "You can amend it and say where to play national anthem and where it can't be done", the judge said.

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