In a surprising move on Friday, the Supreme Court modified its order, saying that it is not mandatory to play the National Anthem before a screening.
The apex court accepted the Centre’s submission that an inter-ministerial committee should decide if the National Anthem should be played at all.
Chief Justice Dipak Misra said that it was up to the cinema hall to decide whether or not to play the National Anthem. However, if a cinema hall does choose to play the National Anthem, people will have to stand up to show respect.
According to Bar and Bench, the apex court noted the submission about the Committee by the Centre, which was to be constituted to decide on all aspects related to the National Anthem, and then disposed the petition.
The bench which was hearing the issue was headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.
On Friday, the Centre had formed an inter-ministerial committee to frame new guidelines on the issue.
Then, 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 submitted by the Centre said.
In November 2016, the apex court had made it mandatory for all cinema halls to play the national anthem before the screening.
The November 2016 order 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."
The Kodungalloor Film Society from Kerala had argued for the 2016 order to be withdrawn in the Supreme Court in October 2017.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.