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National anthem not mandatory in cinema halls: SC

January 09,2018 10:19

Recalling a 2016 order, the Supreme Court on Tuesday said playing the national anthem in cinema halls was not mandatory. The government had asked the apex court to make the move optional till the a panel decides a course on the move. A final call can ...

Recalling a 2016 order, the Supreme Court on Tuesday said playing the national anthem in cinema halls was not mandatory. The government had asked the apex court to make the move optional till the a panel decides a course on the move. A final call can be taken on the issue once the panel comes up with its guidelines on this, the government said.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said a 12-member inter-ministerial committee, set up by the Centre, would take a final call on the playing of national anthem in the cinemas.
The bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, said the committee should comprehensively look into all the aspects relating to the playing of national anthem and allowed the petitioners to make representations before the panel.
The bench, while disposing of the petitions pending before it, made it clear that the exemption granted earlier to disabled persons from standing in the cinema halls when the national anthem is being played, shall will remain in force till the committee takes a decision.
The trigger:In October 2016, the Delhi High Court issued a notice to the government on a plea for directions to make playing of the national anthem mandatory in all cinema halls.
On 30 November 2016, the Supreme Court ordered that the national anthem must be played in public theaters across the country before a movie, without any dramatisation. It also ordered that the national flag be shown on screen when the anthem is being played.
The court's order came on a public interest litigation (PIL) by Shayam Narayan Chouksey seeking framing of guidelines on the playing of the national anthem.
The subsequent ruling invited sharp criticism, with many asking if patriotism could be forced upon citizens. Since the order, several movie goers who either refused to or could not stand up for the national anthem before the movie had to face violence.The follow-upAttorney General KK Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, said India was a diverse country and the national anthem needed to be played in the cinema halls to foster a sense of unity. Opposing a recall of the 30 November 2016 order, Venugopal said it should be left open to the government to take a call on whether the anthem should be played in theatres and whether people should stand up for it.
The affidavit from the Union home ministry came after the court, in October, asked it to decide on the matter following a countrywide debate on its earlier order that made the playing of national anthem at movie halls mandatory.

Supreme Court,Shayam Narayan Chouksey,National Anthem Controversy,cinema halls,Central Government

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