Playing national anthem in cinema halls not mandatory: Supreme Court

Report Gokulan in India

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered that playing the national anthem before screening movies in cinema halls is not mandatory.

National Anthem not mandatory at cinema halls: Govt informs SC, forms panel to frame guidelines in 6 months

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said this while modifying its 2016 order by which the apex court had made the playing of the national anthem in cinemas mandatory.

The SC's decision comes a day after the Central government asked the SC to put on hold its 2016 order.

The government had yesterday told the court that it has set-up an inter-ministerial committee for framing guidelines describing occasions and circumstances in which the national anthem is to be played or sung and observance of proper decorum, it said that it would require extensive discussions on wide-ranging issues.

Telling the court that the committee has been asked to submit a report with its recommendations in six months, the Centre had urged the top court to put on hold its direction vis-a-vis playing of the national anthem in cinema halls.

The government stand came as a total summersault of its previous stand on the issue.

The Supreme Court had on October 23 asked the government to consider amending the national flag code for regulating the playing of the national anthem in cinema halls across the country.

And while Justice DY Chandrachud, who was a member of the bench along with Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice AM Khnawilkar, questioned the logic behind the order, saying there is no need for an Indian to "wear his patriotism on his sleeve", Attorney General KK Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, had said India was a diverse country and the national anthem needs to be played in the cinema halls to bring in unity within this diversity.

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