National Anthem in theatres not mandatory

People stand up for the national anthem before the start of a movie at a theatre in Indore

People stand up for the national anthem before the start of a movie at a theatre in Indore

The affidavit filed by the Union home ministry on Monday came after the court, in October, asked it to decide on the matter following a countrywide debate on its earlier order that made the playing of national anthem at movie halls mandatory.

The 2016 order had made playing of the national anthem mandatory in cinema halls.

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

The stand is in sharp contrast to the support Centre had then shown to the top court's November 2016 order. In government via an affidavit has asked the Supreme Court that playing of the National Anthem in Cinema Halls should not be made compulsory.

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It said once the recommendations are ready, the government would issue the requisite notification or circular.

It also said that the exemption for the disabled from standing in cinema halls during National Anthem shall remain in force.

The bench which was hearing the issue was headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.

The interim order was later modified to the effect that viewers need not stand if the National Anthem is being played "as part of the storyline of a feature film, newsreel or documentary". The SC said that the order was being passed taking into consideration that there were many instances of vigilante patriotism. Justice DY Chandrachud, criticising the previous mandate, questioned why people should have to "wear patriotism on their sleeves".

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