Supreme Court modifies 2016 order, says National Anthem not mandatory in theatres

Supreme Court modifies 2016 order, says National Anthem not mandatory in theatres

Supreme Court modifies 2016 order, says National Anthem not mandatory in theatres

The said submission was made by the Attorney General before the Supreme Court, as after the directions of the Supreme Court of India dated 23 October 2017, the Central Government had constituted a Committee to look into the matter as to whether playing the National Anthem before a movie should be mandatory or not.

In 2016, it was directed by the Supreme Court of India, that all cinema halls must play the national anthem "Jana Mana Gana" before screening films.

Observing that society did not need "moral policing", the court had then said that in future, "the government will want people to stop wearing T-shirts and shorts to cinemas saying this would disrespect the national anthem".

The Supreme Court on Tuesday said playing the national anthem before screening of a movie in cinemas was not mandatory any more, reversing an order it issued more than a year ago. The committee will examine whether any amendment is necessary to the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971, to expand or specify the meaning of "respect" to the national anthem. The court clarified that the exception granted to the disabled persons "shall remain in force on all occasions".

"It has to submit its recommendations in form of a report within six months", a senior ministry official told NDTV.

This came a day after the Centre, in an affidavit to the Supreme Court, asked it to reconsider its order making it mandatory for cinema halls to play the national anthem before screening of films. In such an eventuality, the Centre has asked the top court to reconsider restoring the position to where it stood before the apex court passed its order. The Bench added that the protocol of showing respect and honour to the anthem was rooted in "our national identity, national integrity and constitutional patriotism".

"We respect the decision because it is important to keep the dignity of our National Anthem". Members of a bench had questioned the logic behind the mandatory order. A year later the order faced criticism from within the court, with Justice Chandrachud asking if everyone "should wear our patriotism on our sleeves".

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