SC now says, anthem in cinema halls not must

SC now says, anthem in cinema halls not must

Although the Supreme Court has ruled that it is not mandatory for cinema halls to play the national anthem before screening a film, the man who had filed a petition to make it compulsory is all set to approach the inter-ministerial committee to make it obligatory not only in theatres but also in schools. Dyandas Chaphalkar, secretary of Multiplex Association of India said, "Playing the national anthem before the each show begins causes inconvenience to patrons, so the SC decision is a welcome one". Standing up would be taken as showing proper respect, it clarified.

Reacting to the court order, Chouksey said the top court modified its order at the request of the central government which said it had constituted an inter-ministerial committee to look into the subject. Representatives of the PVR and Inox multiplex chains declined to comment on the issue.

In October 2017, the Supreme Court had asked the Centre to take a call on regulating the playing of National Anthem in public places including cinema halls, within three months, and said till then its earlier order directing cinema halls to play the National Anthem at the commencement of films will continue. Attorney General K K Venugopal told the court that the committee, which was set up through a notification on December 5 a year ago, will submit its report within six months.

The new decision, Indian news outlets reported, allows theatres to choose whether to play the national anthem.

The centre had set up the committee after the top court, in October a year ago, observed that the people "cannot be forced to carry patriotism on their sleeves" and it can not be assumed that if a person does not stand up for the national anthem, he or she is "less patriotic". "You can amend it and say where to play national anthem and where it can't be done", the judge said.

Senior counsel Sajan Poovayya, representing another petitioner advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhaya, said that national anthem, national flag and national song were secular symbol representing nationhood and were required to be respected.

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