Playing national anthem in cinema halls not mandatory: Supreme Court

Jan 10, 2018 11:13 IST
Playing National Anthem in cinema halls not mandatory: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on 9 January 2017 ruled that playing the national anthem before screening movies in cinema halls is not mandatory. The ruling modifies November 2016 order of Supreme Court that made the playing of national anthem in cinemas mandatory.

A bench headed by the Chief Justice Dipak Misra accepted the Union Government's affidavit that said a 12-member inter-ministerial committee had been set up to suggest changes in the 1971 Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act.

The bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, asked the committee to take a comprehensive decision on what changes are required in the law and it’s executive orders related to national anthem.

However, exemption to the disabled people from standing in cinema halls during the national anthem will remain in force till the committee takes a decision. The inter-ministerial committee will now take a final call on the matter.

Supreme Court directs cinema halls to play National Anthem before film screening

Inter-Ministerial Committee on National Anthem in Cinema Halls
The Union government on 8 January 2018 told the court it had set up an inter-ministerial committee to frame guidelines on playing the national anthem in cinemas and other public places. It also informed that the committee needs six months to finalise the guidelines.

The inter-ministerial committee will be headed by Additional Secretary (Border Management) under Union Ministry of Home Affairs. It will have representatives from various ministries including Ministries of Defence, External Affairs, Culture, Woman and Child Development, Parliamentary Affairs, Information and Broadcasting and Minority Affairs.

It will also have representatives from Department of Legal Affairs, Department of School Education and Literacy and the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disability.

The committee will have to consider a wide range of issues relating to the national anthem, and have extensive discussions with various ministries. The committee will then give its recommendations in six months from the date of its constitution.

No need to stand up in movie halls to prove patriotism: SC

November 2016 order of Supreme Court
On 30 November 2016, the Supreme Court ordered all cinemas to play the National Anthem before screening a film “for the love of the motherland”.

It was also ruled that the National Flag must be displayed on the screen for the complete duration of the anthem and all present in the cinema hall should stand up to show respect to the National Anthem.

It also said that before playing the National Anthem in the cinema hall, the entry and exit doors shall remain close so that no one can create any kind of disturbance leading to disrespect to the National Anthem. The doors of cinema halls can be opened once the National Anthem is over.

However, later on 23 October 2017, the Supreme Court observed that people do not need to stand up in the cinema halls to prove their patriotism. It can not be assumed that if a person does not stand up for the national anthem, he is less patriotic.

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