National anthem in movie halls not mandatory: SC

Agencies/New Delhi
January 10, 2018 NATIONAL 106 Views

The Supreme Court on Tuesday revoked its interim order on mandatory playing of national anthem before movie screenings in cinema hallsafter multiple instances of vigilante patriotism.
This comes a day after the Centre filed an affidavit informing the top court that it was in favour of modification of the November 2016 order, a complete turnabout from its previous stand on the issue.
Accepting attorney general K K Venugopal’s suggestion, the bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra said playing of national anthem in cinema halls will henceforth be optional.
Venugopal said the Centre has constituted a 12-member inter-ministerial group to study and suggest possible changes in the Insult to National Honour Act, 1971 for incorporating measures to enhance respect for the national anthem. The inter-ministerial committee will take at least six months to study all aspects relating to signing and screening of national anthem and the manner of respect due to it and give recommendations to the Centre.
The apex court had on November 30, 2016 directed that all cinema halls must play national anthem before screening of films saying that “it would instill the feeling within one, a sense committed patriotism and nationalism”.
During the hearing on a PIL on October 23 last year, Justice D Y Chandrachud, a member of the bench along with CJI Dipak Misra and Justice A M Khnawilkar, had questioned the logic behind the order, saying there is no need for an Indian to “wear his patriotism on his sleeve”.
In stark opposition to the CJI’s November 2016 order, he had further observed that it cannot be assumed that if a person does not stand up for the national anthem , he is “less patriotic”.
Attorney general K K Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, had said India was a diverse country and the national anthem needed to be played in cinema halls to bring in uniformity.
He had said it should be left open to the government to take a call on its own discretion on whether the anthem should be played in theatres and whether people should stand up for it.

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