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Don't make playing national anthem in cinemas mandatory: Modi govt urges SC

The committee will give its recommendations in six months from the date of its constitution

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The Supreme Court bench said it would not allow the government to

In a change of stand, the Centre on Monday suggested the Supreme to modify its earlier order making it mandatory for cinema halls to play the anthem before screening of a feature film.

It said an inter-ministerial committee has been set up as framing of guidelines describing circumstances and occasions on which the anthem is to be played or sung, and observance of proper decorum on such occassions requires extensive consultations.

The said the top may "consider the restoration of status quo ante until then i.e restoration of the position as it stood before the order passed by this on November 30, 2016" as it mandates the playing of the Anthem in all cinemas before the feature film starts.

The said it has decided to constitute an inter-ministerial committee headed by (Border Management), Ministry of Home Affairs, with representatives from various other ministries, including the Ministries of Defence, External Affairs, Culture, Woman and Child Development and Parliamentary Affairs.

It would also have representatives of Ministries of Information and Broadcasting and Minority Affairs, Department of Legal Affairs, and the with Disability, the affidavit filed by Centre said.

It said the committee has to consider a wide range of issues relating to the anthem, and have extensive discussions with various ministries. The committee will give its recommendations in six months from the date of its constitution, it said.

The Centre in its four-page affidavit said upon consideration of the recommendation made by the panel, the may bring out the requisite notification or circular or rules in this regard, if required.

During the hearing on a PIL on October 23, K K Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, had said was a diverse country and the anthem needed to be played in cinema halls to bring in uniformity.

He had said it should be left open to the to take a call on its own discretion on whether the anthem should be played in and whether people should stand up for it.

The apex had then observed that people do not need to stand up in the cinema halls to prove their patriotism and asked the Centre to consider amending the rules for regulating playing of the anthem in the

It had observed that it cannot be assumed that if a person does not stand up for the anthem, he is "less patriotic" and the people "cannot be forced to carry patriotism on their sleeves."

The court's strong remarks had came during the hearing on a PIL filed last year by Shyam seeking a direction that the anthem be played in all cinema halls before the start of screening of a film.

The apex had in its November 30, 2016, order said that "love and respect for the motherland is reflected when one shows respect to the anthem as well as to the flag".

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".

Passing a slew of directions, the had said that fundamental duties in the Constitution "do not allow any different notion or the perception of individual rights that have individual thought, have no space. The idea is constitutionally impermissible".

"The directions are issued, for love and respect for the motherland is reflected when one shows respect to the anthem as well as to the flag. That apart, it would instil the feeling within one of a sense committed patriotism and nationalism," it had then said.

It had also said proper norms and protocol should be fixed regarding its playing and singing at official functions and programmes where those holding constitutional office are present.

First Published: Tue, January 09 2018. 09:05 IST
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