Theatres do not have to play Indian anthem

India's Supreme Court on Tuesday reversed a ruling that ordered the national anthem to be played before movie screenings while audiences stand a ruling that sparked a spate of arrests and attacks on cinema-goers who refused to rise

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra Tuesday modified the November 30, 2016 order which had made the playing of national anthem in cinema halls mandatory. He argued that under Article 51 (A) of the Constitution, it is the fundamental duty of every citizen to show respect to the national flag and the national anthem. However, if the anthem was played, patrons were bound to stand up in respect.

The order came after the government informed the court that it had formed a 12-member inter-ministerial committee to frame guidelines for occasions on which the national anthem is to be played or sung in theatres.

The Centre's decision to set up the committee came after the top court in October previous year observed 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". Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh had issued notifications prior to November 30, 2016, making it mandatory for cinema halls to play the anthem. This statement from the Supreme Court of India has come has come as a whiff of fresh air for innumerable movie buffs who visit the theatre to get some relaxing moments to spend with their family, friends and loved ones. The Home Ministry's new committee is now looking at the norms that suggest the playing of the National Anthem before movie screenings in cinema halls. During the last hearing, the judges were critical of the outcome of its 2016 order.

According to him, most ministries in the government would be represented in this committee.

Earlier, appearing in court Monday, Attorney General K K Venugopal told the bench that "in my suggestion, the word shall in the order could be changed to may, leaving it to cinemas to play or not to play" the national anthem.

"We respect the decision because it is important to keep the dignity of our National Anthem".

"Some ask why people have to wear patriotism on their sleeve, why do people have to stand for national anthem". The SC said the government will take a final decision after receiving the recommendations.

Related news: