National Anthem In Cinema Halls No Longer Compulsory, Says Supreme Court

| January 9 , 2018 , 13:08 IST

In an announcement on Tuesday, the Supreme Court said that playing the national anthem in cinema halls was no longer compulsory. 

The Supreme Court's earlier order on November 30, 2016, making the playing of the national anthem compulsory in theatres before movie screenings was met with criticism as the public felt it was "forced criticism".

The Centre on Monday called for a modification of the SC order regarding the compulsory playing of the national anthem in theatres, asking the apex court to withdraw its earlier order.

The views of the Centre were expressed after the Supreme Court in the last hearing hinted at modifying the order on the compulsory playing of the national anthem so as to stop moral policing in the name of patriotism.

"Why do we have to wear patriotism on our sleeves? People go to cinema for undiluted entertainment and to ease out. Tomorrow someone may say people should not come in shorts and t-shirts in cinema halls as national anthem is played there. Where would this moral policing stop?," the court had said.

The government, filing an affidavit in the Supreme Court, said that it had appointed an inter-ministerial committee to frame guidelines regarding the playing of the national anthem at public places and requested the court to restore the status as it was before November 2016.

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"The aforesaid committee has been constituted to look into all aspects relating to playing or singing of national anthem. Upon consideration of the recommendations made by the committee, the government may bring out the requisite notification or circular or rules in this regard, if required. This court 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 court on November 30, 2016 with regard to direction to the extent that it mandates the playing of the national anthem in all cinemas before the feature film starts," the affidavit said.

"The framing of guidelines describing circumstances and occasions on which national anthem is to be played or sung and observance of proper decorum on such occasion require extensive consultations with various ministries. It is submitted that the government has decided to constitute an inter-ministerial committee headed by additional secretary, MHA with representatives from ministries of defence, external affairs, culture, women and child development, parliamentary affairs, information and broadcasting, minority affairs, legal affairs, HRD," Centre said in its affidavit.