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SC overturns order, national anthem not must in cinema halls

12 January 2018
SC overturns order, national anthem not must in cinema halls

The Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) chief said the Supreme Court had taken good decision as there was no need to play national anthem in theatres to prove patriotism.

The Centre, on 8 January 2018, approached the court with an affidavit informing it about an inter-ministerial committee to frame new guidelines to outline circumstances and locations where the anthem should be played. Physically challenged and senior citizens who can not stand up may be exempted from this, it said.

His observations were in complete contrast the CJI who had authored the 2016 order.

The current order trails an November-16 ruling that made the playing of the national anthem compulsory in cinema halls before movies are screened. In its October 2017 ruling, the bench stated that it can not be assumed that a person is "less patriotic" if he or she does not stand up for the national anthem.

Exemption for disabled from standing in cinema halls during national anthem shall remain in force. "We may further emphasise that the discretion may be utilised to regulate in an inclusive manner or as the Central Government feels fit", read the court's 23 October order. "I think the national anthem should be played in theatres. You can amend it and say where to play national anthem and where it can't be done", the judge said.

The direction was given "for love and respect for the motherland is reflected when one shows respect to the National Anthem as well as to the National Flag".

The government had asked the top court to make the move optional till the panel submits its guidelines. It would have been more dignified if the Supreme Court reversed its earlier stance suo motu.

Representing the Centre, Attorney-General KK Venugopal had told the court that India was a diverse country and the National Anthem needed to be played in the cinema halls to bring in uniformity.