The Centre has formed an inter-ministerial committee to frame new guidelines on whether the National Anthem should be played in cinema halls.

National Anthem in cinema halls Govt forms panel to review rule
news National Anthem Monday, January 08, 2018 - 19:10

More than a year after the Supreme Court directed all cinema halls to play the National Anthem before films, the Centre has now formed an inter-ministerial committee to frame new guidelines on the issue.

The Centre has also said that it would need six months to come up with new guidelines.

In an affidavit submitted to the apex court on Monday, the Centre also urged the court to continue implementation of 2016 order in the meantime. The court agreed to let the practice of playing National Anthem in cinema halls continue until the Centre came up with new recommendations, if at all.

"Upon consideration of the recommendations made by the Committee, the government may bring out the requisite notification or circular or rules in this regard, if required," the affidavit said.

The matter meanwhile, is set to come up for hearing in the Supreme Court on Tuesday. The bench hearing the issue is being headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.

The November 2016 order of the Supreme Court also mandated that people would have to stand up in respect for the National Anthem when it was played in cinema halls. The order said that this practice would “instil a feeling within one a sense of committed patriotism and nationalism.”

Later, however, while hearing a petition by a film society challenging the November 2016 order, a three-judge bench had questioned the order.

The Kodungalloor Film Society from Kerala had argued for the 2016 order to be withdrawn in the Supreme Court in October 2017. Justice DY Chandrachud, criticising the previous mandate, questioned why people should have to "wear patriotism on their sleeves".  

The Supreme Court also clarified later that people with physical and intellectual disabilities were exempt from standing up for the National Anthem in cinema halls. 

The court had also asked the central government to regulate rules for playing the National Anthem in public places – Justice DY Chanrachud had asked the centre to specify where and when it should be played. He had observed that these days, “the anthem is played during matches, tournaments and even Olympics where half of the crowd does not understand its meaning.”

The Centre has also said that it would need six months to come up with new guidelines.

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