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Playing of national anthem in cinemas optional: SC

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The Supreme today made the playing of in cinema halls before of movies optional, modifying its earlier order.

The apex modified its November 30, 2016, order by which it had made the playing of the anthem mandatory in cinema halls before the of a film.

A bench headed by said a 12-member inter-ministerial committee, set up by the Centre, would take a final call on the playing of in the cinemas.

The Centre's decision had come after the top had in October last year observed that the people "cannot be forced to carry patriotism on their sleeves" and it cannot be assumed that if a person does not stand up for the national anthem, he or she is "less patriotic".

Observing that the society did not need "moral policing", the had then said that next time, "the will want people to stop wearing T-shirts and shorts to cinemas saying this would disrespect the "

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 is being played, shall remain in force till the committee takes a decision.

The top accepted the government's affidavit which said the 12-member panel has been set up to suggest changes in the 1971 Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act.

K K told the bench that the committee will submit its report within six months.

The Centre had yesterday told the apex that an inter-ministerial committee has been set up as extensive consultations were needed for framing of guidelines describing the circumstances and occasions on which the is to be played or sung and observance of proper decorum on such occassions.

The had said that the top may "consider the restoration of status quo ante until then, that is restoration of the position as it stood before the order passed by this on November 30, 2016" as it mandated the playing of the anthem in cinemas before a feature film starts.

The inter-ministerial committee headed by Additional Secretary (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 the Ministries of Information and Broadcasting and Minority Affairs, Department of Legal Affairs, and the with Disability, the affidavit filed by Centre said.

The apex had on October 24 last year observed that people do not need to stand up in the cinema halls to prove their patriotism and had asked the Centre to consider amending the rules for regulating playing of the in the theatres.

"People go to cinema halls for undiluted entertainment. Society needs entertainment. We cannot allow you (Centre) to shoot from our shoulders. People do not need to stand up in cinema halls to prove their patriotism," the bench had said.

"Desireability is one thing but making it mandatory is another. Citizens cannot be forced to carry patriotism on their sleeves and courts cannot inculcate patriotism among people through its order," it had said.

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

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.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, January 09 2018. 14:25 IST