SC: National anthem not mandatory in cinema halls

People stand up for the national anthem before the start of a movie at a theatre in Indore

A final call can be taken on the issue once a ministerial panel comes up with its guidelines on this, the government has said.

The apex court accepted the Centre's submission that an inter-ministerial committee should decide if the National Anthem should be played at all. "That apart, it would instil the feeling within one of a sense committed patriotism and nationalism", the apex court had said then.

The Attorney General for India has so far staunchly opposed any prayer for recall of the court order, stating that the directions will help inculcate values and cohesiveness among Indians. However, citizens are bound to show respect to the Anthem in case the cinema hall chooses to play it. The following day the court grabbed the chance and ruled that revving up the national anthem before cinema shows was now not mandatory.

Later, the Supreme Court also added that the person with disabilities was the exception in the order of standing up during the Anthem in cinema halls.

On 30 November 2016, a Supreme court bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Amitava Roy ordered that the National Anthem must be played in public theaters across the country before a movie. Displaying the National Anthem is based on theater owners. Some of the things people are considering them as good while others not. "People do not need to stand up in cinema halls to prove their patriotism", the bench had said.

The government had asked the top court to make the move optional till the panel submits its guidelines.

Although cinemas in India regularly played the anthem in the 1960s and 1970s, the practice has declined over time.

Justice Chandrachud had made it clear that people who do not stand up during the playing of the national anthem could not be branded "anti-nationals".

A three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Justice Deepak Mishra, Justice AM Khan Khanwalkar and Justice D last month October.

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